Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Now if anyone can't make this meeting...

Tonight Lindsay Hoyle is hosting a briefing enticingly titled: "Britain's independent nuclear deterrent - the need and legality."

Now if like me you are either a) not important enough to attend or b) not free (I qualify under both criteria), please permit me to surmise:

"because we, in Britain, have a moral superiority to others (particularly Moslems). It is ok because we are good guys (no, really) and won't use them on anyone apart from bad guys (Moslems - unless the Commies come back again). Also, we must ensure no other countries (apart from Israel) can develop nuclear weapons, but if we (the civilised West) can make a buck or two out of flogging intelligence and capability improvement means we should proceed without any form of responsibility (India and Pakistan)"

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Barry's full of Bull

Yes I am sure you have all been long wondering how the London Owls darts team have been fareing in recent times. Well let me put you out of your misery. Wednesday remain top of the league and, last night, vanquished Rotherham 7-4. Things started well as the Owls raced into a 3-0 lead (801 team leg and the first two 601 doubles - yours truly knocking in the double in the first doubles leg) then pegged back to 3-1 only to accelerate to 6-1 (including your Bovine chucker winning his 501 singles leg). Wednesday took their foot off the pedal allowing it to slip to 6-4 only to win the beer leg to run out 7-4 victors.
Thereafter followed a few doubles matches between the Wednesday boys, although with 5 of us left it need a closest to the Bull to decide who would chalk. Beefy only puts his first dart straight in the bullseye and then next game to determine the scorer he does it again. That's top darts.

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Labour Member launches another pre-emptive strike

Politics - much like football - is a funny old game. This is clearly demonstrated by the Tory Party attempting to pass themselves off as the saviours of the NHS. This being the same Tory Party that continually pedalled the idea of a health passport.
Anyway, last Wednesday saw an Opposition Day debate on Acute Hospital Services and things proceeded pretty much to form with the usual 'oh yes you did' 'oh no we didn't' charade that is the meat and drink of British democracy. Thankfully things started to get a bit spicier when Ian Austin, the Labour Member for Dudley North, got called. Here is a man who takes an enormous amount of joy in winding up the Tories, often getting a warning from the Speaker for his joie de vivre. It was a lively speech and he was in his element slating the Tories for preaching one thing when anyone with half a brain (a memory would also suffice) knows that under a Tory Government there would be massive health privatisation (even compared to this Government) and substantial cuts to public spending. After a brief intervention by Laura Moffat, Austin continued saying that not one Tory had intervened on him because they knew they could not refute what he was saying. At this a few Tories started mumbling and guffawing, one of whom was Mike Penning. Now Penning is to political philosophy what deep-fried pizzas are to a healthy diet, so Austin called his bluff:

Mr. Austin: I did not notice that, but I did notice that not one of them has got up to deny that the effect of their policies would be to cut public spending, which is what they believe in. They cannot deny that. It is an absolute fact that the effect of the proceeds of growth rule would be to cut public— [ Interruption.] Well, if the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) would like to intervene on me to deny that the effect of the proceeds of growth rule would be to cut public spending, I would be more than happy to give way. Does he want to— [ Interruption. ]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. May I suggest that the hon. Member for Dudley, North (Mr. Austin) should not tout for business in that way? I must also ask the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) not to make any more sedentary interventions.

To put this in school-bullying terms it is like picking on the weedy, speccy kid wearing his older brother's ill-fitting hand-me-downs. What Hansard failed to convey was that Austin actually sat down, leaving the Plato of Hemel Hempstead looks even more limited than usual. Of course any other Tory could have jumped in, it would have been impossible not to accept the intervention but they didn't. Any why didn't they? Because they had nothing to say, they had been rumbled, their flush was busted.

I saw Ian and had a bit of a laugh with him about this and then talk inevitably turned to subjects about which we differ (i.e. Trident replacement) and then he went back to calling me a "dirty Trot". I have enjoyed his acquaintance for a good couple of years now. By now he should know flattery gets him nowhere.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Would Sir and Madam be caring for full pension?

Not if you're staying in the Guesthouse Occupationalo. A High Court ruling has judged that the Government must reconsider its decision to not enact the findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The spoilsports. Obviously, Conservatives and critics will be licking their chops. No doubt it'll be rah-rah time in the House for a bit. They will impartially point out that the Government are scumbags, stealing off Pensioners hand-over-fist. They will, sadly quite correctly, point out that the Government is setting a most unfortunate precedent in ignoring an Ombudsman Report. The braver amongst them may even comment on how the Tory Government helped out those who lost money through Maxwell being more bent than the Charlton front-line of Marcus and Darren. Fewer on the Opposition benches, I imagine, will care to recall that they share a political heritage with Edwina Currie who, lest we forget, suggested, in her glorious tenure in the Department of Health, that freezing pensioners threatened by hypothermia because they could not afford heating should "wrap up warm" in woolly hats and long johns.
The High Court ruling has, however, found that the Government is culpable of inaccuracies and potential misleadings regarding the minimum funding requirement. The Court also ruled that the Department of Work and Pensions should reconsider making arrangements to restore fully the pension losses of the people concerned when their employers became insolvent.
However, the Government has been cleared of being in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and has also been absolved of being responsible, through maladministration, for the financial losses of every indiviudal who suffered the winding up of their pension scheme.
The Government was also cleared of the murder of the first born and the snow a couple of weeks ago.
What would be helpful was if the Government put politics out of this and realised that there is a massive issue to be solved and their truculence in recent times has not helped at all. The Treasury should dip their hand in their pockets (not for that!) and cough up more money for the Financial Assistance Scheme and, basically, just get a move-on.
There could, of course, be some way of getting BIG BUSINESS to contribute to compensation packages if they actually gave a fuck about people as opposed to cosy little Corporate Social Responsiblity ideas and Community Projects. Or they could just pay more. Sorry I've turned into a Commie. Next up I'd probably suggest something heretical like if we didn't renew Trident for billions and billions of pounds we could cover all of this, raise the state pension and still have enough left for a rainy day.

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Busking beggers on the tube beggar belief

Now this really is a long overdue entry into Room 101. It's not all buskers. Although, I am not a big fan of the institution of buskers, I can recognise that some deluded sociopaths do like them and feel they offer something different from the regular mundanity, frustration and delays that remain the main services rendered by the London Underground. If you see a busker, you have an option to walk past or to give them money. This is fine. The people I would put in Room 101 (hurtling headfirst) would be buskers on the actual Tube itself.
Twice last week I was accosted by a clarinet player on the District Line. Twice this guy peddled out a few numbers and twice I got nowhere near recognising any of it. Hint to budding, aspiring clarinet players: if you get near a note, play it. In fact, it really was a pain in the neck. By nature, I am not the greatest in the morning. Ideally, I will either do a sudoku or two, or more normally read a book. You know, have the decency to keep myself to myself. So what do I get for my troubles? Some prick making a racket, that's what. I can't read my book. I am stuck there with a deep and all consuming hatred and loathing burning in my heart. Then when he has finished, he comes around the carriage with his purse - pausing in front of every passenger and rattling it (his purse). Now I take exception at charity collectors shaking their tins in my vicinity, I most certainly do not appreciate the clarinetist doing the same.
And then on Friday, I had another busker on my tube. Not a clarinet player (this is good) but rather an Irish duo playing the bloody bastard banjo and singing jovially. At least the clarinet player had the decency not to be able to speak the Queen's. These characters have the patter, right down to every stereotypical nuance: the cheeky smile, the banter, the "bejeesus" - seriously they were one stop away from "top of the morning" and a full-blown riverdance. These wankers persisted for two whole stops. I felt lower than a snake's belly. After they eventually wound-up, about 3 people clapped. In the words of Alan Partridge: "I loathe these people[...] I wish all of you[...] people would get on a bus and just drive over a cliff. I'd happily be the driver."

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Keeping us on our toes

The following briefing came into my in-tray, spot the slight blunder. As the Count said: "The problem with our education system. Discuss"


I think we can all agree that immigration is a big issue. Everyone's got an opinion. Even the word 'immigration' elicits a response. People who on the face of things appear normal start foaming at the mouth like rabied dogs. It's not just retired Majors either. So when you stumble upon a solution to the immigration problem, I think it's wise to spread the word. I don't know where and when great decisions have been made in the past, that lightbulb going off effect. However, I can pinpoint this momentous moment. Inbetween the Palace and Portcullis House. The genii being myself, Comrade Hamburger (an economic migrant) and the good Count. Simply put: all immigrants (economic/asylum seeker whatever) must wear a Houses of Parliament visitor pass. This, of course, will have the date of their arrival on it (marked with black pen). All immigrants must be accompanied by an indigenous Briton. However, an individual Briton can only 'sign-in' a maximum of four (4) immigrants. If the immigrant is unaccompanied they are liable to be chucked off our fair isle by some obesely fat policeman type. If, for instance, the immigrant is found alone in somewhere like Wolverhampton, they will be marched to the nearest port and deported in whichever direction. All ports will be provided with green bins, in which the passes can be deposited. NOT OUR CONCERN WHEN THEY LEAVE BRITAIN. Naturally, immigrants will not be allowed on the Terrace and will not be permitted to have lunch during peak times (12-2)


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chris Eubank arrested

Notorious character and lisping eccentric, Chris Eubank has been arrested for protesting against the Iraq war. Thurely thumbone is taking the pith? But no, Gutbuster (who will not be doing karaoke tonight) saw his massive truck go down Whitehall. Here is Eubank's massive truck. Look at the size of that one! He could be Tory Party leader. Actually, given that Meacher refused to answer the question: "What car do you drive?"* he could be a candidate for the Labour leadership.

* he drives a Jaguar.
By the way, the Chris Eubank cartoon is courtesy of this quite marvellous site

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Spin isn't always bad

Last night I had a fine old time debating cricket with the oracle of all things cricket Googly. Now this man is a true one-off, a phenomenon with an immense knowledge of cricket, we immediately set to discussing what has the potential to be the most exciting development in English cricket since the 2005 Ashes victory. For years and years, England fans have decried the misfortune of not having a world class spinner: Tuffers had his moments but the 90s and 2000s were a barren period. As Australia produced Warne and Macgill, Pakistan boasted Saqlain, Mushtaq (bowling Mushie) and Kaneira, India had Harbajhan and Kumble, Sri Lanka delivered the maestro Murali and even New Zealand turned out Daniel Vettori; England toiled away with such bowlers as Croft; Such; Dawson; Giles; Schofield; Udal; Blackwell; Illingworth and Salisbury. Even John Childs, then aged 123 got his debut in 1988 (or '87 - Googly?)
And then came Monty. And behold he was good. Very good. It's refreshing but the news that caught my attention was that the aforementioned Saqlain has receovered from a career-threatening knee injury, married an English woman and got a contract to play for sussex. Basically put he should be eligible to play for England in 2008 when he will be, a relatively sprightly, 31. Saqlain was the pioneer of the 'doosra' - the one that goes the other way with the identical action to his stock delivery. He was the youngest player ever to reach 100, 150, 200 and 250 One Day International wickets - and reached these milestones in less matches than any other player. He has also scored a test match century. And no less of an authority than Michael Atherton held him to be top, top drawer.
The notion of Monty and Saqlain in tandem (just think of the beards and fingers twirling in unision) with a pace attack of any of Freddie, Broad, Anderson, Harmison, Hoggard or Jones. Oh yes.

On a side note, we also attempted to compile our best ever England and World test XIs (within our living memory). It soon became clear we wouldn't agree on the World XI. Even withstanding Googly's irrational dislike of Jacques Kallis, how can you fit Steve Waugh, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid in a batting line up? Similarly how can you pick a bowling attack out of Wasim, Waqar, Curtley Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Murali, Donald and Pollock?

Anyway we sort of agreed on an England team:

Michael Atherton
Marcus Trescothick
Graham Gooch
Robin Smith
Graham Thorpe
Alec Stewart
Andrew Flintoff
Darren Gough
Andrew Caddick
Monty Panesar
Angus Fraser

Stewart as keeper and probably Gooch (maybe Athers) as captain. This post has made me happy.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Meacher stands

Many thanks to Gutbuster for emailing me so that the first thing I saw when I logged on this morning was that Michael Meacher will be announcing his candidature for the Labour Party leadership. I have mixed feelings shared, I'm sure, by many on the Left of the Party. Apart from Harry Perkins, of course, whose feelings are conveyed here. Yes, Meacher has not been a picture of consistency, but at least he has voted against some of the Blairite policy which, clearly, puts him higher than Gordon in my estimations. The bigger problem is that it will, or at the very least has the potential to, split the Left vote ensuring that neither McDonnell or Meacher get the required 44 nominations and Gordon coasts in without a vote.
Personally, what I would ideally hope for is that Labour MPs who have their suspicions of the Brownite agenda but cannot bring themselves to vote for John McDonnell will instead plump for Meacher, i.e. Meacher nicking off Brown and not McDonnell which, in turn, would leave a fatal 3 way between Brown, Meacher and McDonnell - now that would be quite good.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tory Party: not racist, right?

A friend of mine, presumably bored off his tits at work, has found the following article in the Cambridge Evening News. It appears that a Tory Councillor has somewhat put his foot in it by calling non-Britons wogs. It is hard to know who he is actually referring to, the exact quote is: "There are all different sorts of w*gs here, I don't differentiate between them but treat them all as though they were English." So does this mean economic migrants, asylum seekers or just anyone who is non-white and lives in the UK, irrespective of how many generations the family have lived here? Of course, I'm being harsh - I can't help it, I don't like Tory politics much - to redraw the balance it's probably fair to assume my 'non-white' comment is not true, I imagine immigrants from Eastern Europe would be lumped in there too. And if Alex Hilton is correct in his thinking that the Tory Party is "dedicated to lining up the entire British working class and buggering them one by one", it is the kind of equal treatment to which quite a few would take exception.
The Cllr in question, Ted Pateman defended his comments explaining that in his generation the word wog is quite common. He also comes up with an ingenious ruse to get out of this mess by saying: "The term is in the Oxford English Dictionary." This argument falls down when you consider that, for argument's sake, the word cunt is also in the dictionary, however I wouldn't use this word to describe foreigners either. Undeterred Cllr Pateman continues: "They're all equal, all English and you can see that when the kids go to school in the morning. In my Close of 42 houses, we have 11 different nationalities and they are all neighbours. There's no racism up here in Cambourne and I don't think there is very much in Cambridgeshire." Ok, but it does also reveal that he has a bordering on the obsessional interest in the number of non-Britons in your street, especially for someone who starts off by saying "They're all equal, all English". If they're all equal, surely each of the 42 houses in the Close is lived in by English people?
Racism isn't only reflected in lynchings, stabbings and the Police Service (boom, boom) but also by comments that clearly show that immigrants are different from the indigenous British population. Obviously this 'different' is normally equated to 'worse than'. Therefore, someone like Ron Atkinson (famed for calling Marcel Dessaily 'a lazy fucking nigger') is a racist even if his daily routine does not revolve around race-hate like Adolf Hitler. Racism is racism and it can take the form of hate, prejudice, ignorance or words out of the dictionary.
Of course not all Tories are like this and perhaps Cllr Pateman at a less than spring chicken 79 is not the shining embodiment of Cameron's Tories, but you can bet that people who share these views (significant sections of the older generation, shall we say?) are the life-blood of the Tory Party upon whose votes they are very reliant.

p.s I once spent the weekend in Cambourne as the hotel me and my girlfriend booked was heinously called the Cambridge Belfry. It isn't in Cambridge, it's in Cambourne. Cambourne was incredibly dull. I even don't think it was finished.

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Take me to your leader

I suppose this is really following on from Alan Simpson's letter of resignation; the bit where he says that the Brown leadership will be worse than the Blair premiership. I don't particularly agree with this sentiment, I do think Brown will be better than Blair but not by that much. I know defenders of the Blairite regime will say things about the minimum wage, tax credits, NHS waiting lists and...well you've heard the spiel a million times before (normally during Prime Minister's Questions), it goes on almost ad infinitum. Now I do not wish to appear ungrateful, but a whole load of this Government's achievements relate, at least in my thinking, to the deficiencies of the Major Government, the hangover from the Thatcher Years and the general state of malaise that was in the minds of Britons in May 1997. Sure this country is better than it was in '97 but after 18 years of the sodding Tories things could hardly have got that much worse, I mean the UK now is hardly a New Jerusalem is it? I do not believe that Blair has been the Prime Minister that he could and should have been, the Labour Party was voted in with a massive mandate to change the country. People were fed up with the Tories, fed up with the corruption, the obsession with money (as Tony Benn correctly recognised when analyzing the British manufacturing industry, apeing Oscar Wilde, that the Thatcherites 'knew the price of everything and the value of nothing') and their totally out-of-touch-with-the-great-British-public persona.
Defenders of Brown, and by God there are shedloads of them, and the more optimistic will say that Gordon is more like 'us'. 'Us' in this instance referring to the rank and file of the Labour Party, the good Comrades who believe, with absolutely no proof or hopeful blind faith, that Gordon Brown is more of a Socialist than Blair. That is like saying I am a better footballer than Stephen Hawkings: I may well be but it still doesn't mean I'm any good. To remind those of us with amnesia, Gordon Brown 'the Socialist' has never voted against any measure introduced by Tony Blair - that includes Iraq, top-up fees, foundation hospitals, Trust schools, PFI and I.D Cards. Gordon Brown 'the Socialist' has also been in favour of the Government not recognising the findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman over the ongoing Occupational Pensions fiasco. La plus ca change, la plus la meme chose?
This brings me to the actual point that I wanted to make about the Deputy Leadership campaign. Paul Linford has done a quick sweep of some Labour bloggers to find out who they were backing for Deputy Leader . I think the general consensus of the results was that they told more of the individual bloggers than the views of the Labour Party rank and file. No shit, really? The point I would make is that does it really matter who is Deputy if Brown is the leader, or McDonnell for that matter? The only worthwhile leadership in living memory (only just) was the 1981 Healey vs. Benn dust-up, which was essentially a fight between the Centre and the Right (Centre being the revisionist term. Contemporaries saw it has a struggle between the Right and Left wings of the Labour Party - little did they know that Blair would do away with Clause 4 and give new meaning to the word Right in hte Labour Party context).
Recently, Sheffield Wednesday appointed Brian Laws as manager; I was pretty happy about this. I couldn't say I was too fussed that at the same time Russ Wilcox was appointed Assistant Manager. Back in the days of boundless enthusiasm, I thought Sven would do a good job for England, I didn't really hold an opinion about Tord Grip (and still don't - actually I don't think I'd recognise him if I walked past him in the street). I would point out that Jon Cruddas does actually seem to have ideas about the role of the Deputy Leader and the importance in re-establishing the link between the Party and the Government. The others don't seem to actually say anthing, and how can they? They're not going to be Leader.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Bitterest Pill (I ever had to swallow)

is that the Jam are reforming, but without Paul Weller. The Jam are one of my all-time most faovurite bands and initially I was quite excited to see they were reforming, this excitement has been tempered by the fact that Bruce Foxton (bass and vocals) and Rick Buckler (drums) are going for it without Paul Weller. This isn't the Jam then, is it? More like low-fat marmalade. Still, I imagine it will be better than most of the w*nk currently in the charts.

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F.A Cup

Yet another boring F.A Cup draw this time for the Quarter Finals. Is it just me or has this tournament really been this indeterminably dull?

Middlesbrough or West Brom v Manchester United or Reading

Arsenal or Blackburn v Manchester City

Chelsea v Tottenham

Plymouth v Watford

No, that's pretty dull.

Update: Just for a change, common sense has been conspicuous in its absence within the hallowed corridors of the F.A. A suggestion mooted by Arsene 'the Professor' Whinger and Glenn 'The Smallest Mouth in Football' Roeder that replays in the F.A Cup should be scratched has fallen upon deaf ears. So what that it causes loads of fixture congestion and only a moderate proportion of fans will turn up to replays played midweek; just think of the wonga you can get by screening yet another Middlesbrough replay. And, of course, punditry from insightful legends like Shearer (zzzzzzz...), Wright (ah man, you know what I mean Al?) and Hansen (they're playing with passion, power, passion, power and power)

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Yet another cricket post

I am sorry to bore you all, but it's not everyday you come across stuff like this: a glorious hour-and-a-bit of Australia pummeling South Africa and the South Africans pummeling the Aussies that little bit more.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Better late than never

After England beat Australia in the ODIs, I got a text message from A Source Formerly Close to the PM who was quite excited by Jamie Dalrymple's catch to dismiss Shane Watson. Well, here it is for you to enjoy in all it's glory. You got to love Freddie sliding in to congratulate him and Mark Nicholas, always prone to hyperbole even at his calmest, going with "a phenomenal grab...[some noises indicating that he's just seen one of the world's great marvels]...one of the great catches."

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Doh! Simpson to stand down

I was really upset to read that Alan Simpson, the Labour MP for Nottingham South has decided to stand down at the next General Election. I can well understand his sense of frustration, the Labour Party is currently not the greatest haven for socialists. I have a lot of respect for him and wish him all the best. The quote in his resignation letter is pertinent: "There are good people in the Parliamentary Labour Party but not enough of them. At times, I feel that colleagues would vote for the slaughter of the first born if asked to." Not only vote for it, but probably justify it by saying it was in the manifesto and the Government has to deliver on its manifesto promises.

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How come we weren't allowed to stick the foot in

After a 5-0 mauling in the Ashes, England somehow turned things around and won the Tri-Series. In the final, you will recall that, England won 2-0 and, therefore, with the result already determined the third match didn't happen. And then to compound things for our Antipodean cousins, our other Antipodean cousins have also beaten them 2-0 in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. Yet New Zealand will have the chance to get another morale pumping victory, and the Aussies get the chance to win and regain some confidence. Bloody conspiracy, I tell you.

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I got your back!

Whiter than white took another turn for the grey with the news that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, has been having it away. Now I do agree that an affair does not effect the person's ability to do a job, but it would kind of be...novel, if Tony Blair didn't back all of his colleagues who've been having affairs:

Blair backs Goldsmith (the Guardian)

Blair backs Blunkett (the Guardian)

Blair backs Prescott (the BBC) - actually it's only the 'PM's Spokesperson', but when it comes to backers you take what you can get

That's a lot of backing. I suppose that's why it's all Current Affairs.

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Close shave for Shitney Beers

Yep Britney's gone for the Sinead O'Connor look. And very crap it is too. Hey Britney, you missed a bit. I thought I'd visit her website to see if there were new galleries, but sadly it appears as if her website is being overhauled.

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Audley Harrison

I just cant keep up. Is he the Olympic champion, national hero? Or is he the guy who continually beats non-descript opponents? Or is he the guy who lost a very dull fight to Danny Williams? Or he is the guy who demolished Williams in the rematch? Or is he the guy who just got decked by Michael Sprott? So many questions, you judge for yourself but here's a picture of him on his ass from Saturday night.


Shirley you can't be serious...THE CAT????!!???

My joy at the passing of two of my least favourite Eastenders characters ever: Pauline (to death) and Sonia (to Manchester), has been somewhat tempered by the introduction of Shirley Carter. Now Shirley's been around the block a few times, and she isn't scared to remind anyone who crosses her, or even talks to her actually, by drawing reference to her years on the clock whilst exuding a heavily perfumed (Eau de Marlboro Light) sexual aura. Truly she is horrific. So I thought I'd find a picture of her so that I could convey my feelings on this subject. I duly entered "Shirley Eastenders" into Google and was directed to the Eastenders character site (almost every character past and present has their own page), but strangely not to the page of Shirley Carter, for that is the surname of this tough-as-nails Shirley; but rather to the page of Shirley Benson. You remember her don't you? Shirley lived downstairs from Gavin, the neighbour from hell. She also had storylines, and romantic tristes, with the Ferreira family. Sadly the Ferreira family never quite clicked, I mean an Asian family in the East End? That's unbelievable. Or was it perhaps that the father of the household, Dan, kept on dressing up as Elvis or that his offspiring were crap: there was Adi: the boring one, Ash: the boring one, Kareena: the boring one and Ronnie and Tariq - THE BAD BOYS ONES (two), but boring. Anyway, the biogs of the characters have their links to other characters, love interests and their individual 'ups and downs' and Shirley's down brings a tear to my eye. Not only did she have her rows with Gavin, her neighbour from hell (mentioned above) and her love interests with the Ferriera family (mentioned above) but, worst of all, her cat was killed. Not by the curiosity of her owner's stories, one would speculate.

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Me and my girlfriend's anniversary is on Valentines Day. How romantic? Quite so. So imagine how delighted I was, when watching the Eastenders omnibus, to be reminded that Dot and Jim's anniversary is also on Valentines Day. Happy tidings.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Climate Change

Climate Change is a big deal, actually it is probably the big deal. I don't mean to scare any of you, but we're in trouble and we're all going to die. The skin will be scorched from our faces and polar bears will all die of heat exhaustion due to wearing fur coats in very hot temperatures. I hope this conveys the seriousness of the issue, so thank goodness we have so many people switched on to the problems. Phew, you can sleep easy tonight. The Labour Government, the bastion of all things virtuous, will tackle the issue by ploughing on with more nuclear power and doing not a lot to tackle big industry. The Tories, ever ecologically alert, have appointed Zac Goldsmith (hey he's young and good-looking) as the Chair of a Quality of Life Policy Group and David 'Dave' Dave Cameron cycles to work with some chauffeur following behind with his things. And then there's that most tireless of campaigners Al Gore, the maker of An Inconvenient Truth, who is so tireless it is almost conceivable that he forgets taking an 8 year hiatus (1992-2000) when he was Clinton's Vice President and did approximately f*ck-all to curb the US' massive environmental abuses.
So we're all going to hell in a handcart? No, of course not; because we're going to have some really big gigs. I'm sure these will evoke comparisons with Live Aid, but truly these will be crap and will certainly have no effect on Climate Change. And are they expected to raise awareness of Climate Change? Every man and his dog has an opinion on this subject, so I cannot see any point apart from all of these artists having the ability to pat themselves on the back and say: "Hey, I've done my bit for Climate Change." The answer to which would presumably be: "What exactly?"


Thursday, February 15, 2007

I do like cricket

A few months ago, a Comrade chum, well more of a Stakeholder if truth be told, named Wes mentioned that he had started a blog and would I link to it. I happily obliged and he happily reciprocated.* The blog I don't like Cricket started 99 days before the Ashes and covered that debacle. However, it then stalled and appeared to have gone the way of some many others and just died. But today, I see it is about and the Collective have recharged their batteries and are even on the look out for new contributers.
May I take this opportunity to do my own bit to gee the boyz and girlz up. I hereby declare Why I Do Like Cricket - click to enlarge:

* Note to readers us Left of Centre people are generally happy not being consumed by hate and bile and Gordonaphobia

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Recess Monkey is my Guardian Angel

Praise be to the Monkey. As well as being the inspiration for being starting this blog in the first place, Mr Monkey never ceases to heap praise on my blog whether in person or through his own Recess Monkey blog. Indeed, back in the days, he very kindly offered me the chance to write for monkey, which I turned down because I am not fit to ties his Simian blogging laces.Anyway, whenever Monkey links to one of my articles my traffic goes up by about 200%, this is really decent of him and appreciated.The last time he linked to me was the ShitinNormanShawSouthbogsgate and, as per the form, my hits went up and up. And today I was informed that it even made it into the Guardian Diary. Nice one Monkey. I'll even swoon when you're serenading dem girls at the next Sports and Social karaoke.

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Some of you may have seen that for a while now I have been displaying the MessageSpace service. This service is predominantly run by Alex Hilton, a good friend and Comrade, and he kindly included me in this project. Not that my levels of readership merit it in the slightest, but het thought he'd do me a good turn. So far I have earned about £2.75 through this, although I have yet to see this bounty; I think Alex - my benefactor - has put it in a trust fund in some tax-free haven.
Today, I received an email drawing attention to Messagespace adverts from 18 Doughty/Dullty Street that had been somewhat partisan, despite Dale's claims that 18 DS is not politically biased, dissing London's very own Ken Livingstone. These adverts will now no longer appear on this blog (honestly, I don't think the adverts even referred to Red Ken as 'a lovely guy who has an unfortunate propensity of occassionally appearing slightly, of course inadvertently, anti-Semitic). At the moment, MessageSpace seems to be advertising...itself.

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Reselect Sir Patrick

The Tories of South Staffordshire have deselected Sir Patrick Cormack in a truly et tu bruté moment. He has served them for 37 years. Although, I am not a Tory or a fan of them for that matter, this has surely got to be wrong. Sir Patrick has always seemed like a decent cove to me with firm-held principles, and in his dealings with my boss has been nothing less than a gentleman. Others with greater minds than me (and Iain Dale too) have blogged this matter and the majority seem to be in favour of Sir Patrick, none more so than arch anti-abortionist in-chief, Nadine Dorries. Ms Dorries, voted #9 (she should be loads higher. Ok only 8 places higher) in Adam Boulton's Valentines 'I would' list, has leaped to Sir Patrick's defence saying that she would defy Whips and support Sir Patrick as an Independent should it come down to it. More power to you. And you're fit too.
However you can expect the majority of Tories, who were incidentally cock-a-hoop about Peter Law winning the previously Labour held seat of Blaenau Gwent as an Independent, to no doubt have the greatest of sympathies with Sir Patrick...Blaenau Gwent...blah blah blah...and really bloody disapprove of the process, but then miraculously managed to salve their collective consciences (when someone with high-precision guidance weapons can locate it) by concluding that to stand as an Independent would really damage the new Tory party. This new Tory party will not only be, as Alex Hilton notes here "dedicated to lining up the entire British working class and buggering them one by one" but also stabbing each other in the back. You think they would have got this out of their system after the unfortunate knifing of the unfortunate George Iain and Duncan Smith.
Good luck Sir Patrick, whether by reversing the deselection or standing as an Independent

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mixed news for Essex boys as England name World Cup XV

In with the new and out with the old was the key phase for England's World Cup squad. Mal Loye, the explosive opening bat, has lost out to Essex all-rounder, Ravi Bopara for the last spot in the England squad. Loye (36)* has long since been the scourge of County attacks on the domestic front, but despite several bright starts has failed to go on and score a big score for England. Bopara (21)** offers a lot of what England need: an intelligent, elegant batsman who can bowl a fair bit - his first international wicket (which he is celebrating in the photo) was none other than 'Mr Cricket' Mike Hussey. He also gives the squad a better balance as England already have sufficent top order batsmen in the XV. It's unlucky for Loye but given captain Michael Vaughan's (32)*** tendency to get injured he may well yet appear.
On the bowling front it is as expected with Saj Mahmood (25)**** getting the nod over Stuart Broad (20)***** Personally, I would have gone the other way with Mahmood being a bit expensive for my taste and Broad is a type of quick that we don't have in the squad. What it does mean is the end of Darren Gough's international career. As England flopped from disgraceful performance to abysmal surrender to abject attempt of cricket, Gough was again touted as the saviour. However, as England turned things around and eventually prevailed against the Convict Scum ******, it became clear that England could win without Gough (36)*******. I think we can now expect Gough not to renew his contract and Essex and to announce his retirement imminently. I hope this isn't the case, Essex needs you Dazzler!

* including their age in brackets clearly denotes journalistic talent and research
** ditto
*** ditto
**** God, I'm good
***** So good
****** No, they really are.
******* You get the drill now?

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Get well soon

Andy Fordham, the ex-BDO World Darts Champion has suffered a minor stroke. I hope you will all join me in wishing 'the Viking' a full and speedy recovery. He is, quite literally, one of the biggest characters in the Darts world and the Lakeside will not be the same until he is once again gracing the oche.

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Dead or Alive?

I looked for a picture of Kilroy-Silk and found the picture which I posted below. However, the site from which this picture came is absolutely awesome. So good, in fact, that I have added a link in the sidebar. Ever wondered whether a certain celebrity is dead or alive> Well this is the site for you! A comprehensive A-Z listing of such luminaries as Kilroy-Silk, Jade Goodie and Big Daddy. Arethey dead or are they alive?


Mirror, mirror on the wall

Cut their hands off, Islamaphobe Robert Kilroy-Silk, the MEP for Loonsville is back in the news; by news, of course, I mean that 'Also in the News' bit on the BBC politics site (and kindest thanks to Gutbuster for drawing my attention to this offering. Kilroy-Silk, an elected representative of some poor bastards (actually not so poor if they returned him) has tabled a Written Question questioning the legality of Marks and Spencers' mirrors. Yes, I have often wondered the same thing. Actually, no I haven't and, frankly, I am in wonder of Kilroy-Silk's mindset.Whilst looking for a picture of Kilroy-Silk, I used the google image search and saw that, apparently, Kilroy-Silk is being sold on Ebay. Well, it is Valentines Day tomorrow. And it would be remiss of me not to link to this quite immense tribute to Kilroy-Silk in his Veritas pomp.

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Life after Albert Square

A new source for the blog, my better-half, drew my attention to the fine form of Michelle Ryan. That's a great girlfriend. Michelle Ryan aka Zoe Slater (or is that Zoe Slater aka Michelle Ryan?) has resurfaced. In the US, the big time baby! She has beaten several better-known actresses to land the role of the Bionic Woman, a spin-off from The Six Million Dollar Man. In The Bionic Woman she will play a tennis pro who gains superhuman abilities after her body is rebuilt with high-tech electronic parts following a near-fatal accident.
Let's look at that paragraph again. "A tennis pro who gains superhuman abilities" - that's Roger Federer, he the man. However, perhaps they are referring to another British star, "who gains superhuman abilities after her body is rebuilt with high-tech electronic parts following a near-fatal accident." 'Superhuman abilities' (to offend everyone)...'after her body is rebuilt' (fake boobs)...'following a near-fatal accident' (Celebrity Big Brother). Yep, it's Jade 'I'm not a Racist, but actually am' Goodie/Baddie.

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Barry's big scoop

I was accosted by a Mr 'Arris, a happy Hammer no less, who asked me whether I was responsible for a poster (sort of) put up in the Norman Shaw South 1st Floor male toilets. I wasn't and hadn't seen the offending piece, or ultimately the offending piece to which it referred. Immediately, I went to the toilets to see what the furore was about and then I saw and then I understood.
A dirty protest and a very impressive put-down to the perpetrator who, in all likelihood, has not revisited the scene of the crime.
I shall let the images speak for themselves. No I won't I'll spell it out; someone, presumably in the grip of dysentery or some such disease, has missed the bowl...(and presumably absent-mindedly shut the lid and re-opened for a smear effect.

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Anyone for tennis?

It's Recess baby, and it's time for staffers/bag carriers/MPs to let their hair down. Not literally in the case of one M. Fabricant MP. Anyway to the point: if there's one man who has his finger on the sporting pulse it's Michael Foster MP. That's of the DL ilk, not Pascoe. The Honourable Member for Hastings and Rye has issued a call to arms, or more specifically a call to racquets and bats. Not only the Tennis Club, no, no and thrice no; but also a summons to the British Table Tennis Club. Jolly good, eh?
The letters arrived one day after the other, obviously it is far too important to be contained to one letter. However, not important enough for the letters to deviate too much from a pretty standard format. Perhaps tomorrow an invite to the Parliamentary Badmington Club?
I would advocate great caution, would you want to go up against someone with DL after their name? Ooops my fault, I thought it said DHL - like express delivery. In a self-depreciating manner, Mr Foster says "most of the Members are I suppose 'basic club standard'". Oh I see, they're shit. And there I was picturing Piara Khabra and Kenneth Clarke re-enacting the classic Borg vs. McEnroe Wimbledon final, or Gwyneth Dunwoody and Anne Widdecombe recreating magical Williams sisters' triumphs. Or similarly Viscount Thurso doing a Desmond Douglas - he was a British table tennis player in case you don't know (Douglas not Thurso, who is a Lib Dem MP who has seemingly overnight grown a formidable beard to match his rather dashing moustache).

Update: I didn't say when the meets are; (adopting a Socttish accent) around ten-ish, I should think.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Freedom of labour: another foreign flop

It happened last week and I am ashamed not to have documented it earlier, Lubos Kubik has left Torquay United. No points at all if you ask 'who is Lubos Kubik?', but full marks should you know he was the Czechoslovakian defender who heinously wore the number 9 shirt in the 1990 World Cup and who went on to briefly managed Torquay United.
Foreigners with massive (at least proportionately to where they have gone) reputations who have failed, miserably, in England. Well, let me think - for every Prosinecki at Portsmouth there are a load of flops...Ramón Díaz as manager of Oxford United springs to mind; Roberto Mancini playing for Leicester City; Thomas Brolin at Leeds and Palace and Attilio Lombardo at Palace (now Lombardo was a good player, Brolin a fat, idle waster (who I believe went back to Sweden to sell hoovers), Square Football's version of Palace's Terry and June: (On Lombadro being appointed manager)The snag was that the Italian couldn’t speak a word of English which produced the 'Odd Couple' combination with the Swede Thomas Brolin, who presumably kept a straight face when asking the players for more effort. Eventually the club finished bottom but Lombardo stayed with the club in Division One.); Taribo West at Plymouth (the lunatic claimed to have been told in a dream to sign for Plymouth and was on an annual salary alleged to be in the region of £600,000 - tragically, he ignored the dream he had where he was offered the chance to host Deal or No Deal). A (dis)honourable mention should also go to Javier Mascherano.
Football: it's a funny old game. Any other foreigners with massive reputations who did absoutely nob-all? Maybe, World Cup winner Roque Junior at Leeds? Although, I am particularly after the more improbable, rather than plain shit, examples.

Update: The Lib Dem MP for Torbay, Adrian Sanders, who if memory serves was once voted 'Hardest Working MP', has drawn my attention to his own blog where the Torquay fan has posted a frankly scary homage to Lubos Kubik. Now will he reciprocate and link to me?

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Goldenballs is still the Real deal

Back in the team after over a month after his coach, Fabio Cappello wrote him off and said he'd never play for Real Madrid again. Beckham found himself, thanks to injuries, back in the Real starting XI and equalised with a trademark free kick in Real's 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad. I have always been a fan of Beckham and reckon he's still got much to offer. I'm not saying he'd answer all of England's woes, but he might make a better fist of it than some who are currently getting a chance.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

England turn the screw

2-0. Didn't even need the third final. Bring our brave boys home. Hahahaha.

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Dave had a sp(l)iffing time at Eton

It has come to light that David Dave 'Call me Dave' Cameron, the leader of the Opposition has admitted smoking gear at school. At public school. Mr Spliffy was on it and almost got expelled for getting caught. However, he dodged the bullet. I heard some interview with him saying that journalists and people were welcome to stick cameras up his nose (an unfortunate turn of phrase for someone who has been accused of sticking coke up his hooter more than once) but that politicians were entitled to a private past. Within reason, I guess so. I am not too fussed and can say, categorically, this will have absolutely no effect on which way I'll vote at the next General Election, it still won't be Tory.
I'd have had more respect if Dave had just admitted to it and given it a 'no regrets' stance, but no; we get the 'well we've all make mistakes' spiel. Instead, you get the feeling that Dave is a liar, certainly not a 'pretty straight-forward kind of a guy'. Stll it's nice to see that the Tories do have some green credentials.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Archer fires his arrow of injustice

Reality Television has given us so many things to be thankful about: Gordon Ramsey arguing with Edwina Currie; Jade Goody and that woman tossing the pig off, but the piece de resistance must be BBC 2's The Verdict. Now if there was one man on God's green earth I would not want on a jury it would be someone convicted of, and had served a custodial sentence for, perjury. Yep, it's Jeffrey Archer. God's teeth. That's Jeffrey Archer, the liar. That's Jeffrey Archer, the convicted liar. That's Jeffrey Archer, the chap who is on the panel of Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway who praises and funds projects that he gave fuck-all consideration to when he and his Tory mates were busy breaking communities up and down the UK during the heyday of the 1980s. Yes, I would love to have him on the jury. In for a penny in for a pound, I suppose; why not put dogger and woman-beater, Stan Collymore on the jury too? Oh right, they already have...

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I'll have the Full English please...tattooed on my head

When I was young I remember a wrestler called Bam Bam Bigelow. He was massive, used to be a Bounty Hunter and had a tattooed head. A tattooed head! Sadly, Bam Bam recently passed away, but he has now been suceeded by this chap, Dayne Gilbey. Dayne? Interesting name. This man answered the call from tattooist Blane Dickinson to have a full English tattooed on his head. Dayne and Blane, thinking bout it maybe they were meant for each other.
Initially, there were reports that Gilbey was going to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital, but in reports of the actual tattoo there was no mention of the hospital.
Friends have asked him why he had it done and he had a ready prepared answer: "For me it's just something different which has never been done before. My mum is really unhappy about it and threatened to throw me out but I don't think she'll go through with it."
This really is unfeasibly stupid, I mean what was he thinking...no hash browns???? But the creator of this idiocy, Blane Dickinson, is not done with hare-brained ideas next up he wants to tattoo an image of someone's face on the back of their head. Jesus wept.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Welcome to Collingwood

I said he was out of form. I said I would have taken Bopara to the World Cup instead of him. And what the f*ck do I know? 2 games, 2 centuries. Collingwood's back. England win. England win. Come on England.

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Woeful England fail Spanish inquisition

I was supposed to miss the latest debacle served up by Macca and the boys, I was supposed to go to Leytonstone to a meeting with speakers including Harry Cohen, John McDonnell and Katy Clark. However, when Gutbuster pulled out I didn't fancy it on my own and, somewhat strangely, I felt a calling, a duty if you will, to watch England.
Well it's a case of what might have been. That was a pretty piss England performance. England didn't turn up and looked toothless. Big Boy up front on his own didn't do anything. Macca did, however, solve the eternal problem of England's left flank. He literally didn't play anyone there. Thank goodness Macca wasn't a General at Waterloo. Nominally it was Lampard but in reality Lamps was about as left as the current Labour heirachy. With Barry and Downing in the squad, Macca decided to start with Phil Neville. That's a good omen.
I know we were lacking a number of players, but the lot who turned out were proper poor. This is a combination of the players and the tactics. It just seems that whatever formation Macca goes for, he doesn't seem to tell the team until mid-way through the anthem. Just play 4-4-2 mate. If you can play left-footed players at left-back and left-midfield and stop trying to fit Lamps and Gerrard into centre midfield we might even turn in a performance worthy of the name. This is no slight on Lamps purported weight, but Gerrard is far and away the better player.
What Macca needs to recognise, and pretty damn soon, is that you pick a formation and then pick the players to fit into that system. You do not, sorry you really really should not, pick 11 players and put them into a formation. Lamps/Gerrard is a case in point. Macca, and Svennis before him, seems besotted with putting them in the same midfield. I am not sure how many more times they have got to fail to click not to get picked. I mean look at Spain, they had Alonso and Fabregas on the bench and, for my money, they're better than Lamps; hell Alonso didn't even get on at all. This means that you drop Lampard and play Hargreaves. If Hargreaves is injured again, you pick someone who can play the holding role, whether that is Carrick, Barton or Butt or anyone frankly. You don't put Lampard there and hope he'll play in a way that is totally alien to his instinct.
Equally, you pick someone who can play on the left of midfield and don't just put the odd one out of the centre midfield there as if you were, in effect, sending them to Coventry. For goodness sake, it's not rocket science. The idea continues: you play strikers who can score, have pace and compliment each other (not in a "oooh Wayne I do like that shirt" way, although it's quite an amusing concept.) Crouch on his own? Now I know the big-lad-with-a-good-touch is a bit of a freak, but he's alright. Yet, playing on his own he's about as effective as the Liberal Democrat party. We have loads of young, quality strikers so if Macca is hell-bent, as it seems, on not giving Defoe a proper chance he could call up, say, Leroy Lita or David Nugent or Gabriel Agbonlahor or Ashley Young. Just take the plunge Macca.
The current team and the current management are treading water. Next up Israel and, sadly, they're not the mickey mouse outfit they were a few years ago. I'd even go so far as to say if it wasn't for a rather heated second-half debate on who's better Sharpe or Jack Bauer (it's Sharpe by light-years) this would have been one of the most deflating 90 minutes of my life.
Mind due, it could always be worse, I could be Barry O'Beef and I could be Irish and could have just watched my team scrape a 2-1 win over San Marino, a team with all the class and talent of the Queen's Head 3rd XI.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

England win again/Aint is easy

Next up to Australia. Come on England, you can do it. Perhaps.

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Junior Eastenders

Of a Thursday I regularly trudge down to Teddington with Dudley Eyebrows (25) to watch the filming of Harry Hill's TV Burp, the best show on British television. Ever imagined what Eastenders would be like with children? Yeh, me too.


Krypton Factor

Sorry for the lack of recent updates. This has been due to work, more specifically work really getting under my skin and knocking the good humour out of my bones. I'll probably start again when things get a bit merrier, but one thing that continues to shine through persistently; a veritable beacon in a sea of scum would be Ftn and I really have been enjoying the Krypton Factor, a truly mesmeric series. It's easy to let time dull your memories, but how can you improve on a quiz that gave you the obstacle course. Here is Marian Chanter. Incidentally she went on to win the 1987 Krypton Factor becoming the first woman victor. Indeed she was awarded the title by none other than Imran Khan, now in all seriousness that is a phenomenal special guest. I caught the first episode of Krypton Factor 1988 and Gordon Burns announced that she had given up her job (she was a cornish pastie maker) to forge a television career, hmmmmmmm...don't think that lasted too long.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wilkinson puts Scotland to the sword

Never all that fussed about the old egg-ball chasing, but I know enough (just) to know that England played pretty well in overcoming the Scots. And Johnny Wilkinson's day was Hollywood material down to being awarded a dodgy try. The bloke realy can kick goals from anywhere. The French also got off to a winning start and fielded the scariest looking fucker I've seen for quite some time; one Sebastien Chabal - you wouldn't wanna get in a scrap with him would you?And today was the Welsh losing out to the Irish in a match that was eminently watchable. By my limited knowledge I reckon those two looked the best, but we shall see.


Friday, February 02, 2007

England flops to hear first-hand what Barton Finks

Ok so he has had what some would call a chequered past (he's only 24), but Joey Barton sure can play. Yes he's stubbed a cigar out in the face of a youth team player, beaten up some kid in Thailand and bared his arse against Everton back in September but Barton's high point must surely be his response to England players releasing their autobiographies after the World Cup. His exact quote is as accurate as it is blunt: "Why were they bringing books out? It’s like 'we got beat in the quarter-finals, I played like s***, Here’s my book.' Who wants to read that?" I don't think you can argue with that.
So what if this has put the noses of such literary luminaries as Gerrard and Lampard out of joint, frankly their performances during the World Cup did the same to a large portion of the country's football fans. Barton is set to remain unrepentant and fair play to him.
Also included are Kieron Dyer and Jonathan Woodgate after their injury woes and recalled after 4 years is Gareth Barry. These are all plusses, so I'll put my hand up and say 'Well done Steve McLaren'. The squad doesn't quite score an A* though. I would have had Matt Taylor in as left-back cover and wouldn't have included either John Terry or Andrew Johnson. It's only a friendly and as neither of these players are fit yet, wouldn't it make more sense to brave it with kids? Any one of Agbonlahor, Young, Lita, Nugent, Walcott or Derbyshire (all in the U-21 squad) may have been worth a go. And at the back you got to think Sol Campbell's renaissance at Portsmouth has been mighty impressive.
Out goes Kieran Richardson (back to the U-21 squad) but sadly there is no call-up for Scott Carson and Jenas is still in the squad. I would have liked to see Kevin Nolan or, as an outside shout, Tom Huddlestone.
All in all though, it's the most encouraged I have been during the McLaren era. Now we got to see who he actually plays. As ever, come on England.

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Return of the Mack

If there's one thing we can learn from the factual fly-on-wall documentary, Party Animals it is that bag-carriers not only aspire to, but also can grow into roles of immense power. But it shouldn't take some pseudo-political, sexually charged BBC farrago to prove this, just look at the improbable looking Steve McLaren, head honcho of England but better known as bag-carrier in chief to Svennis and Fergie.
And after doing the bare minimum to prove his worth, he pitches up as England coach. If there is one man who could possibly induce a feeling of enthused nostalgia for Svennis, it is McLaren. Results have gone down the pan.
Today, he should redeem himself by recalling such players as Kieron Dyer and Jonathan Woodgate to the squad. With Ashley Cole now out surely Matty Taylor of Portsmouth should get the call as back up for Wayne Bridge? I would also like to see Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton in the squad together with Scott Carson - for my money the best English keeper in the Premiership.
However, Macca's day got off to a sluggish start as another Macca stole the limelight: Massimo Maccarone, the former U-21 Italian international incredibly improbably signed for a whopping £8.15 million by none other than...Steve McLaren during his tenure as Middlesbrough chief. Massimo Maccarone was never really given a fair crack of the whip at Boro, I mean if you splurge over £8 million, it's probably worth giving the lad a run in the team? Pah! What do I know? I'm not the England manager. I'll let the hot blooded Italian's comment stand alone, I don't think there's a lot to add, but I do reckon there's something rotten in the state of Steve McLaren.

"The ever-smiling Steve 'The Magnificent' McClaren is the most two-faced and false person I've had the misfortune to meet in football. He disgusted me by leaving me on the bench for the 2004 League Cup final after having told everyone I was his number one and he was counting on me. At the end all he could do was mutter 'I know, I know'."

Rumours abound that he has been misquoted, or rather mis-translated but he can't have been mistranslated that inaccurately, can he? McLaren seems to be gutless, tactically naive (or inept) without demanding the respect of his players.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

England stick it up the Aussies but the future still isn't clear

You read it rght. England absolutely clobber the Aussies with a 92 run victory. Oh happy days, or perhaps oh happy day. Ed Joyce making a maiden One Day International century, a half centruy from Ian Bell and important contribtions from Loye, Strauss and Dalrymple took England to an impressive 292. For an out of form team reported to be struggling for morale it is a phenomenal performance.
Personally, I was overjoyed to see Ravi Bopara makes his debut. Ok so I am an Essex fan, but Essex players in the team just makes sense. Like the England selectors I really am not sure who to play as the first XI in ODIs (unlike the selectors, however, I am not paid for the honour) so instead I'll plump for some security and go for the squad of 15:

Ed Joyce
Mal Loye
Kevin Pietersen
Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Strauss
Ravi Bopara
Jamie Dalrymple
Chris Read/James Foster
Liam Plunkett
Monty Panesar
James Anderson
Ian Bell
Michael Vaughan
Stuart Broad
Jon Lewis

I know there's no Collingwood and no Nixon, but them be my choices. However, rumours have emerged today in no less an authoirty than the Daily Mail that the selectors are going to make a panic call for Darren Gough (other names netioned in the mix have been James Kirtley and Ryan Sidebottom).. I don't think this would be a progressive move at all and would give Plunkett, Broad, Chris Tremlett or Saj Mahmood a prolonged run in the team.
And just in case anybody has forgotten: we rammed it up 'em today!

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