Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Albums of the Year 2010

Not been a brilliant year for music but these are the standouts so far.

1. The Coral - Butterfly House
2. The Bees - Every step's a yes
3. Fela Kuti - Anthology 2
4. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
5. Paul Weller - Wake up the nation

What's been going on?

I've been noticeable by absence. So, sorry for that. But I'm back...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Songs on the Bridge - 5

Music is my radar - Blur
Secret Agent - Tony Allen

Run Rabbit Ron

So, buck-toothed multi-millionaire Christiano Ronaldo is being allowed his dream move to Real Madrid? A world record fee for football's very own Greg Louganis. We should of course be neither surprised nor particularly bothered by this development.

Madrid's position as a state funded team has been known for years (any team that counted President Franco as number one fan should always be viewed with extreme contempt) and their desparation to catch up with the magnificent Barcelona (No shirt sponsor, save UNICEF - says it all) has driven them to this point. Sign Kaka (by all accounts a very genuine person) and follow him up with a talented, preening, twenty goal a season cheat!

Great news for United, 80 mil will go a short way to paying off their vast debt and a long way to signing 3 decent players (A goalkeeper, centre and right back are required for a start) and Adidas (Madrid's kit sponsor). Not good news for Primera Liga defenders and Real Madrid's insurers.

Prediction - Ronaldo injured within 8 matches out for majority of first season. Barcelona to win Primera again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Inner Sydney Life - 1

I normally wake up about ten to six (5:50 always looks much earlier when written down). My first glimpse of Sydney is out over the Spit Bridge. The traffic rolls down the hill from Seaforth, flutters across the bridge and then grinds its way up the hill. Having busied myself with being a husband and a father for an hour or more. I manage to lock myself into a sweet little musical coccoon, just me and my i-pod.

The tunes tumble, rumble, jolt, shoot, mumble and fizz out of the speakers, tunes that bring forth sharp stabs of nostalgia, sweet shivers of delight or frequent bemused looks. The music is my soundtrack as I take as many backroads as I could possibly desire. The aim is to keep moving, however far away from my ultimate destination the moving traffic takes me.

Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay slide by in a roadmix of folk, jazz, punk and reggae. It's my life. A world full of music and traffic...

Songs on the Bridge - 4

Inner City Blues - Good life
Bttw 90 - A Certain Ratio
Coup - 23 Skidoo

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Songs on the Bridge - 3

Too marvelous for words - Frank Sinatra
Houses in motion - Talking Heads

Monday, May 18, 2009

Songs on the Bridge - 2

Today's selection:

Julie's been working for the drug squad - The Clash
Realise - Part-time Heroes

Friday, May 15, 2009

Songs on the Bridge - 1

I drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge every day and my i-pod always throws up 1,2 or even 3 songs, depending on the queues. So, to celebrate the soundtrack of the 2nd most iconic bridge in the world. I give you today's selection.

I must be mad - The Craig
King Tim III - The Fatback Band
If not for you - Bob Dylan

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top Ten Cover Versions

The Clash - Pressure Drop
The Jam - Get Yourself Together
Lulu - Feelin' Alright
Sex Pistols - No Fun
Talking Heads - Take me to the river
Billy Bragg - That's Entertainment
EBTG - The only living boy in New York
Aztec Camera - Jump
Johnny Cash/Joe Strummer - Redemption Song
Joy Division - Louie Louie

Monday, February 23, 2009

Aussie Guus gets off to ok start

A good result to start with. Still concerns over the defence. I'd prefer to see Mancienne given a run rather than Alex. Also Drogba was still painful to watch. Still not convincing enough. With Arsenal & liverpool stuffing up too it was a pretty good start!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Phil - Not that good

The pundits will start harping on about the demise of Big Phil Scolari, asking how could they sack someone whose team were fourth in the Premiership, in the last 16 of the Champions league and still in the FA Cup.

It is simple, the football they have played has been substandard, the players are unfit and unmotivated. Chelsea have had the resources to be the most successful club in England but they have squandered them. Poor transfer policy combined with stagnant football has seen them arrive at this juncture. My only hope is that the new manager is tough enough to win the dressing room...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lux Interior - RIP

And then there were three...

Sunglasses after dark!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bill Frindall - RIP

Another bearded wonder gone within a matter of hours. What is going on? I think we should be told...

...time moves on another notch!

Friday, January 30, 2009

John Martyn - RIP

This is just getting ridiculous now. First Adrian Mitchell and now John Martyn. As they say over here that is "Sh*thouse".

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

25/25 - 2008

1. My mistakes were made for you - The Last Shadow Puppets
2. In the heat of the morning - The Last Shadow Puppets
3. Standing next to me - The Last Shadow Puppets
4. Have you made up your mind – Paul Weller
5. Shadowlands – Part-time Heroes
6. Stop, Fade, Blur - Part-time Heroes
7. Method (Don’t say goodbye) - Part-time Heroes
8. The Beach is Free – Billy Bragg
9. Sea Spray – Paul Weller
10. M for Me – Billy Bragg
11. All I wanna do (Is be with you) – Paul Weller
12. God Bless Texas – Paul Heaton
13. Kaounding Cissoko – Toumani Diabate
14. El Nabiyouna - Toumani Diabate
15. Where would you be – Yaw
16. Mr Love & Justice – Billy Bragg
17. Shoulder to sigh on – Little Man Tate
18. A good old fashioned town – Paul Heaton
19. Aurora – Arun Ghosh
20. Tommy Shooter – The Fall
21. Step Forward – James Finlay
22. Face on a wall – Little Man Tate
23. Heavenly Peach Banquet – Monkey
24. Mermaids and Slaves – Paul Heaton
25. The Rip – Portishead

These 25 tunes are pulled direct from my I-pod and constitute the 25 most played tracks released in 2008.

25/25 - Bought in 2008

1. Razor’s Edge – Defunkt
2. Kit whites I & II – The Gloworms
3. ‘Ouses, ‘ouses, ‘ouses – John Copper & Sheila Chandra
4. Stool Pigeon – Kid Creole & the Coconuts
5. House party at Boothy’s – Little Man Tate
6. Sounds like something dirty – A Certain Ratio
7. Can’t help thinking about me – David Bowie
8. Get off my track – Graham Day & the Gaolers
9. Village Green Preservation Society – Kate Rusby
10. European Lover – Little Man Tate
11. Abracadubra – Sir Horatio
12. Repercussions – A Certain Ratio
13. Sexy in Latin – Little Man Tate
14. Hard Times of Old England Retold – Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, Simon Emmerson
15. Forgive – Burial
16. Living in fear - Graham Day & the Gaolers
17. Videotape – Radiohead
18. F.T.B. – Robert Glasper
19. Theme de Yoyo – Art Ensemble of Chicago
20. Shooting Gallery – Albarn & Benediktsson
21. Morning Beer - Albarn & Benediktsson
22. Night Bus – Burial
23. Spooky – Dusty Springfield
24. Corcovado – Everything but the Girl
25. On the Pull - Graham Day & the Gaolers

These 25 tunes are pulled direct from my I-pod and constitute the 25 most played purchased tracks of the year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pop Dreams & Sonic Wishes

Seeing as everyone is at it. I thought I’d chip in my own tuppence worth of pop dreams from 2008 and sonic wishes for 2009.

Before I go on to list the lucky winners in my very own festive 25/25 in a forthcoming post (25 songs released this year and 25 songs bought this year). I couldn’t let this opportunity go to decry my own listening habits this year!

I don’t seem to have broadened my musical horizons much at all this year! The only real departures were giving some head space to Radiohead (I know, I have been in denial for years), Fleet Foxes only very recently (but then they sound like stuff scattered across my hard drive anyway), Little Man Tate (ditto) and maybe a bit more prog than I would like (but that was due to my fellow DJ convincing himself that time was ripe for a Genesis revival – is it f*ck!). I didn’t bother with Bon Iver as my record collection hasn’t recovered from The Decemberists rapid fall from grace. Perhaps I should discover a bit more AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen or Leonard Cohen – perhaps not!

My standout artists this year are without doubt The Last Shadow Puppets, a combination of Scott Walker, John Barry, early Beatles and all round general cool 60’s sensibilities made them nailed on number 1 certainties. My other wonderful discovery has been the Part Time Heroes a brilliant reminder of how good British Jazz/ Soul/Beats/Funk can be – blown away by their track Shadowlands. Other good sounds abound, Toumani Diabate, Miriam and Amadou showing Mali leading the way. I’ll have to go back to Portishead as soon as summer has gone. Likewise Lambchop didn’t get the I-pod time I’d envisaged. The Weller album had three or four great tracks on it and is his best for years. Not enough dubstep, reggae or ska this year, must rectify that, although the Burial album was brutally good. Hopefully Shackleton will have a new album out in 2009 to rectify the situation.

The old but good stuff has included Art Ensemble of Chicago, especially Theme do Yoyo, Cinematic Orchestra with Fontella Bass featuring in both. The Clash haven’t been far away and I still love The Good, The Bad & The Queen. Plenty of Samba, of course, including Roberto Menescal and Marcus Valle. The Kinks and Small Faces had a good run out in August and September was mainly Scott Walker. I even finished off the year dropping the occasional Scritti Politti track into the slipstream, of a regular working day.

So, what of next year. What will the strategy be? Immerse myself in Neil Young in January? Give Hip-Hop a few overs in February? I think all will become clear on holiday. I’ll limit myself for a couple of weeks to only playing stuff I have never heard before on my I-pod and see what way the mood takes me after that. The only album I’m aware of waiting for is the new one from The Rifles (due Jan). I’m hoping that these artists deliver the goods in 2009.

The Last Shadow Puppets – Album 2 (Recorded in Abbey Road with R.Hawley as guest guitar)
Scritti Politti – a hip-hop covers album
The Specials – new material with JD back at the helm
Blur – bright and bouncy English guitar pop please!
Traffic – Weller joins Winwood
Arctic Monkeys – Album 3 (as long as it features Diamonds are Forever)
A Certain Ratio – Sextet 2 or a remix of Too Each
David Bowie – Reuniting with Brian Eno for a new Low
Gang of Four – to team up with Sugababes,
Massive Attack – to get back in the studio

Someone brand new!!

+ Finally Coldplay, Keene & Oasis to be banned from producing any more music, ever!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All praise to The Yes Men

1.2 million copies of the New York Times. Who printed it? WHo supplied the newsprint? How good is this!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Derby Day, Husky RSL & a thousand dollars!

I have cracked it. This betting lark is simple. All you do is take the family down to the Huskisson RSL, amble into the TAB, put $10 to win and $5 e/w on Preemincence.

You then setlle down with a blonde (bottle thereof) and realise that due to your own ignorance you have actually put your money on some rank outsider called "Rebel Raider", three minutes later you are cheering the "Reb" as he has now affectionately become to an astonishingly clear victory.

You then go into the TAB and collect $1000 and walk off into the sunset a very happy man!

That Ladies and Gentlemen is how to bet!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The death of music?

Now, I'm not sure what the overriding factor in this is, it could be any one of the following:

* I live in Australia now
* The changes in the music industry mean that bands come and go too quickly
* All the musicians I like are over the hill
* The remainder of them are dead
* I am far too old and should be 'discovering' classical music

But I am genuinely of the opinion that the current crop of music and musicians are not up to the mark.

However, the following artists/tunes do officially still make the world a more wonderful place to explore.

Scritti Politti - Robin Hood
Aretha Franklin - Chain of fools
Burial - Untrue
Marcos Valle - Summer Samba
Antonio Carlos Jobim - Waters of March
Dexy's - There there my dear
Traffic - Feelin' Alright
The Clash - Complete Control
The Last shadow puppets - My mistakes were made for you

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Global Credit Crunch

Having studiously avoided almost anything to do with banking I suddenly feel somewhat out of my depth coming to a view on the current situation. Although an underlying sense of 'the smug bastards deserve everything they get' does sprinkle itself across my senses on a fairly regular basis.

Anyway, seeing as I have nothing to say on the subject. Why not go to this link and read someone summing up their position quite well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We won't be druv - (Part 4)

The mighty Sussex have only gone and done it again! Murray Goodwin hit a six off the last ball as Sussex secured the Pro40 Division One title after a two-wicket win over Nottinghamshire. The Zimbabwean's unbeaten 87 from 64 balls ensured Sussex edged past the hosts' 226-7 in a nail-biting finale at Trent Bridge.

Goodwin and Mohammad Sami (32) shared a stand of 99 for the eighth wicket, blasting 57 off the final five overs. It rendered Samit Patel's all-round effort of 78 and 3-36 fruitless - which was a shame!

The win was made all the more emotional for the visitors when the magnificent Chris Adams announced his retirement as their captain immediately after the match. Sussex's success was the fifth trophy Adams, who steps down at the end of the season, has helped the county win during his 11-year tenure at Hove.

"It's been a fantastic journey and it was really important for me that we won this particular trophy for the development of the club," said Adams. "That's the third different competition I've won while I've been captain here and it's a great time to bow out with that under my belt."

The two sides went into the game knowing the victors would be crowned as champions and the England all-rounder's excellent performance with both bat and ball looked to have led Nottinghamshire to the victory that would have led them, not Sussex, to the title. He struck five fours and two sixes in his 83-ball knock, with good support from Ashwell Prince (33) and Chris Read (31) - Eastbourne stalwart James Kirtley Sussex's leading wicket-taker with 3-39.

That left Sussex needing 5.66 runs per over to overhaul the target and snatch victory, and they got off to a stuttering start when big hitters Matt Prior and Luke Wright were dismissed with less than 33 on the board. However, that brought Goodwin to the crease and the batsman timed his innings to perfection, despite wickets falling all around him.

Graeme Swann and Patel bowled beautifully in tandem to seemingly swing the balance Notts' way, the former taking 3-33 off his eight overs. But Goodwin found the perfect partner at the perfect time in Sami, who betrayed his reputation as a part-time batsman with an excellent 25-ball effort that provided Murray with exactly the support he needed to see Sussex to a fabulous victory.

Needing 15 off the final over and, eventually, three to tie the match - and secure the title - off the last ball, Goodwin stepped back and hammered a half-volley over the long-on boundary for a maximum - sparking wild scenes of delight from the travelling support. Cue delirious versions of good old Sussex by the sea!

Adams intends to play as a batsman only next season with Mike Yardy set to captain Sussex.
"I felt the wind of change was blowing about six or seven weeks ago and I know it's the right time to step down.

"There are a lot of good young players coming through the system now. Mike Yardy is his own man who will bring a lot to the side and to the development of the cricket club."

Grizzly will be greatly missed as skipper but hopefully he will bat on for another season or so. Although from Yards' point of view he might fancy having the dressing room to himself but we shall see. Whatever happens Chris Adams is the most successful captain of Sussex CCC ever and that is good enough for me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ain't that grand!

Mosman Barbarians 5 v 2 Wakehurst Tigers

On the pitch at the start, on the pitch at the end. Victory secured!

Pre-match nerves (3)

90 minutes before kick off, just getting ready to leave the house, like I have so many hundreds of times. Nurofen popped, Voltarin applied, boots polished and ready to go!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Pre-match nerves (2)

My fitness levels are on the rise, I'm at about 90% now (although my right achilles is still about only 15%). From now through to kick off I will be taking copious prescription drugs, having yet more physio and strapping up the few remaining bits of my body that are currently uncovered.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pre-match nerves (1)

The Grand Final has been put back a week because of the torrential rain, it has given me an extra 6 days to let my calf recover and has opened a can of selection worms for the coach. On the one hand I'll be gutted to be on the bench, on the other it means I might be able to survive until the final whistle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quiet nights of quiet stars, quiet chords from their guitars.

50 Years of Bossa Nova at The Opera House

Just got back from a wonderful concert at the opera house, where I saw Vinicius Cantuaria, Marcos Valle, Wanda de Sah, Roberto Menescal and João Donato deliver a beautifully gentle set of Bossa Nova. In Brasil, to do something with "bossa" is to do it with particular charm and natural flair, as in an innate ability. That is exactly how it was this evening. From Roberto Menescal’s “Bye Bye Brasil” to Marcos Valle’s “Summer Samba” every gentle note pushed back the tide and let the sun shine through.

All of which goes to prove a world without Bossa Nova isn't a world at all.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The forces of oppression

Who guards the guards? Who Polices the Police?

Fans of The Pop Group might well be familiar with the above. The paranoic rantings of Mark Stewart or a stark reminder to us all? Given the gung-ho revenue generation tactics of the local police it might be a question worth investigating a little further.

So far, the police have managed to sting me for in excess of $2500 over the last 18 months. There is little or no recourse to these roadside muggings. And when questioned the common response is "Who's the judge going to believe?"

Of course my quibbling fades into insignifigance when put up against other peoples circumstances but I can't help but feel that something is ever so slightly rotten in the state of ...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Things I miss about England

Of course I miss a lot about England, I'm sure that it's quite normal in fact to miss your home of 40 odd years. So, I thought I'd jot down the occasional 'miss' as and when it came to me. So, why not pop over to this other little link of mine.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jeremy Clarkson

I am a man of peace. I long for the day when no-one is killed, maimed, hurt or bullied. I dream of being able to go through twenty four hours without scenes of carnage, torture and oppression, whether it be by a state or individual.

But in the name of whoever it is that thought up this whole bizarre whirl we live in, will someone please, please make the most pompous twat to ever stalk the soil of England (and heaven knows there are thousands of them) shut the f.u.c.k up!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Farewell to Mushtaq

Mushtaq took almost 600 wickets in his six years with Sussex. Pakistan and Sussex leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed has retired from county cricket because of an ongoing knee injury.

Mushtaq has spent the last six years with Sussex, helping them to three County Championships, the C&G Trophy and the Totesport Division Two title. The 38-year-old, the leading wicket taker in the County Championship for the past five years, said: "This is a very hard decision for me to make.

"My love, my feelings and my heart will always be with Sussex."

During his county career, Mushtaq took 598 wickets, bowling more than 26,000 overs, but feels time and injuries have now caught up with him.
"I feel that I could possibly play one more year but, out of respect, I would only do that if I felt 100%.
"I am going to miss playing for the club greatly. I am truly honoured to have spent six wonderful years here."

He added: "There are not enough words to express my gratitude to the club, but I would like to specially thank Peter Moores, Mark Robinson, Chris Adams, all my team-mates, all the fans and everyone who is part of this magnificent family for all the opportunities and memories that they have provided me with. "If I have hurt anyone in my time, I never meant it and would like to apologise, as there is no shame in apologising to my family."

Sussex captain Chris Adams added: “Mushtaq’s legacy at the club is that he leaves us statistically, romantically and emotionally the best player to ever pull on a Sussex shirt."In view of the impact he's made, it's difficult to think of another cricketer who has achieved or done more for one county. "His legacy extends beyond the playing arena, as I'm sure all that have been graced by his presence will agree. He is simply a great man."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Silence is golden

No more bleating adverts, tugging at the weakened heartstrings. No more excruciating embarrassment as the gold medallist receives a poxy little Panasonic digital video recorder. No more one-eyed coverage of the one-eyed games.

In the mad rush for glory and medals, the bigger (less palatable picture) has been ignored. China's civil rights record has been swept underneath the Olympic carpet and the plight of the people of Tibet has been forgotten. The ham-fisted urgings of Apple inc. to get all the athletes to wear their i-pods as a symbol of solidarity at the closing ceremony almost beggared belief! There have been no protests from the athletes, no resistance from the media pack and with the bizarrely honourable exception of Prince Charles (who stayed away in protest) no political challenge to the Chinese position at all.

Yes, the Olympics have been a treat (they always are) and yes the Chinese have 'opened up' a little to the prying eyes of the west and I'm not sure that that is completely a good thing anyway. But now that the final fanfare has been played, the final anthem been sung and the final medals have been won. It is time for a little silent reflection for those whose battle for a peaceful victory still rages on.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Eton Rifles

Paul Weller - Enmore Theatre, Sydney - Day 3

Well, just when you thought it couldn't get better. It does. Surfing on a tidal wave of affection from the fantastic Sydney audience, Paul Weller delivered a rich and varied set, taking in his whole career and crucially seemed to be having a wail of a time doing it. Despite some technical hitches that lead to Nigel the guitar tech copping an earful, Weller and his band of two Steve's and two Andy's sailed through the proceedings looking and sounding like a unit that is really coming together.

Tonights stand outs were an acoustic 'Butterfly Collector', a great "Wide Blue Yonder' and of course 'Eton Rifles', well and truly snatched back from David 'Dave' Cameron.

If you get to be that good when you reach your half century, then roll on the big five-O!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What a nice day

Paul Weller - Enmore Theatre, Sydney - Day 2

Out of the Circle and into the drinking! Having moved down from the gods to hang out with the mods, tonight witnessed another quality performance by Woking's finest export since Tim Buzaglio.

'Peacock Suit', 'Changing Man', 'Out of the sinking' stood out alongside a vastly improved 'Seaspray', 'Porcelain Gods' and 'Wild Blue Yonder'. However, the stand out track tonight was an amphetamine swift version of the old Style Council classic 'Speak like a Child' complete with beautiful segue into the "over the country, lights are going out, in millions of homes and thousands of flats going out, going out..." fade out of 'When you're young' - sublime!

All topped off with another fearsome stab at 'Eton Rifles' & a joyous 'Town called Malice', bloody marvellous!

More pleae Vicar!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello hooray!

Paul Weller - Enmore Theatre, Sydney - Day 1

Touching down only 23 years since the last time. Mr Paul Weller hits the stage and piles straight into 'Blink and you'll miss it'. Looking tanned, happy and healthy, Weller and his band rip through old songs, new songs, covers and classics. A barnstorming 'Shout to the top' competes with 'That's Entertainment' and 'Have you made up my mind' as the tunes of the night. That is until the closer of the set, not heard since the last The Jam gig at the Brighton Conference in 1982 'The Eton Rifles' rips the roof off the Enmore and sends the 99% pom audience into a mad steaming frenzy.

The encore ticks the final boxes with a raucous 'Malice' to finish. A great night, bring on tomorrow!

UK Gold

And to think that it all started so brightly for the Aussies. Barely a hint of the dreaded Union Flag on the medal podium. But then everything changed, the world ever so slightly shifted off its axis and Team GB started winning. Not just a gallant bronze here and a plucky silver there. No, it was a blur of gold, the British medal cabinet loked like a mash up of the inside of an Aztec temple, Auric Goldfinger's most lurid dreams and the valuables bag at a charity match between the So Solid Crew and the premier league's finest.

Quite simply there has never been a better time to be in Australia, apart from 2003 RWC, 2005 The Ashes and 2007 RWC (1/4 finals).

Bliss, pure unadulterated gold smothered bliss!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful part 1

New music coming down the wire from Lambchop and Tony Christie (Produced by Richard Hawley apparently, which will be nice...)

The Marmite Wars

I have a story to tell about Marmite.

Having been a lifelong fan of Britain's finest breakfast condiment. I was appalled to discover that Sanitarium (oweners of the Marmite Brand in Australia) were seeking to pass off their own version of the beloved partner of delightful hot buttered toast. Not only have they brazenly tried to coerce the mass ranks of the Australian populace to buy this sub-standard vegemite light, they have prevented the few local stockists who could see through their vale of petty greed from stocking yer actual Marmite.

I was preparing two potential courses of action before fate intervened:-

1) I was going to tell the family to pack up we were leaving and heading back to Albion.
2) I was going to start a 'dirty' campaign outside Sanitarium's, smearing the walls of their building with their own branded marmite.

Thankfully that was not necessary as I have discovered 'British-Mite'. It looks like marmite, tastes like marmite and when you peel off the poorly afixed label you realise, it is marmite! Those exceptionally resourceful people at Best of British are importing the 'Yeast Extract of the Gods' and sticking their own label on the jars to obscure the offending Marmite. Whilst not the perfect solution it does mean I can stay a bit longer down under!

So crisis averted, carnage prevented, in fact as the Editor of my favourite musical journal so succinctly puts it, "World saved".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's talk rugby

Touchdown - Christchurch New Zealand.

Right, let's talk rugby. The sound of silence echoes around the city. Now, I wonder why that could be.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

RWC Review - Australia 10-12 England

Well I couldn't let it pass without comment...


Saturday, September 22, 2007

One year on, same result!

Good old Sussex by the Sea.

Sussex won the title for the second year running, and the third time in five years, after an emphatic victory over Worcestershire at Hove.

Spinner Mushtaq Ahmed had match figures of 13-225 as the defending champions won by an innings and 14 runs.

But they then had to wait over four and a half hours to learn the outcome of Lancashire's game against Surrey before the celebrations could begin.

"I am proud of every single player," said team manager Mark Robinson.

Lancashire needed to score 489 to beat Surrey and win the title outright for the first time since 1934, and produced a magnificent effort before falling 25 runs short.

Sussex's game had finished just before lunch when Worcestershire were all out for 305 despite a stand of 117 between Moeen Ali (85) and Gareth Batty (84).

The pair added 54 to an overnight toal of 190-5, with Batty confidently hitting Mushtaq away over long-off for six as he went to a 75-ball half century.

But the Pakistani eventually made the breakthrough when Moeen missed an attempted sweep and was bowled.

Moeen's cousin Kabir was next man in and he also proved difficult to dislodge, contributing 23 to a stand with Batty before attempting an over-ambitious stroke and losing his leg stump to seamer Robin Martin-Jenkins.

Worcestershire's resistance was all but ended when Batty, having hit four sixes and nine fours, was lured down the track by Mushtaq and stumped by Andrew Hodd.

Mushtaq Ahmed had the final word in his duel with Gareth Batty

Richard Jones was next to go, caught at slip by Sussex skipper Chris Adams for two off Mushtaq, who then had Nadeem Malik taken by short leg Carl Hopkinson to finish with 7-132 and claim his 90th victim of another magnificent season.

"Mushy has the strongest mental capacity I've known a cricketer to have and he's obviously an exceptional bowler as well.

"We're very lucky to have him," Robinson told BBC 5live.

The success was especially sweet for skipper Chris Adams, who turned down the chance to become Yorkshire's director of cricket last winter in order to stay on ths south coast.

"It's been the most excruciating afternoon. Lancashire nearly did it," said Adams, after watching the end of the Red Rose county's match on TV.

But he insisted his team were worthy champions, adding: "You play 16 games of four-day cricket, the best team has to win the trophy and we proved that this year - [but] only by the slimmest of margins.

"It could have gone to five teams before this last round [of games] so credit to everyone, but I guess we were the best team - just, and only just."

The match against Worcestershire, meanwhile, was the last for Sussex batsman Richard Montgomerie, who has retired at the age of 36 after a season in which he scored eaxctly 1,000 first-class runs, including two centuries.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saturday, March 03, 2007

What exactly is a Waratah? (Part 2)

Waratahs 16 Force 16

Lote Tuqiri is expecting to be the target of widespread criticism after his extraordinary act of abusing then pushing teammate Sam Norton-Knight over a blunder that cost the Waratahs a much-needed victory over the Force at Aussie Stadium last night.

The Waratahs had the chance in the final seconds to break the 16-16 deadlock when they were awarded a penalty about 45 metres out. To the shock of his teammates, Norton-Knight emerged from nowhere and took a quick tap, charging down the sideline, only to be tackled while executing a quick chip kick. The ball was re-gathered by Force fullback Cameron Shepherd who cleared it, ending the game.

A furious Tuqiri ran 30m to chastise Norton-Knight, first with a verbal spray. But then he bumped into him with a shoulder before angrily pushing him in the back. A few seconds later Tuqiri turned and hurled more abuse at his shocked teammate.

After the Waratahs left the field with many in the 31,109-strong crowd booing them, Tuqiri apologised for his public admonishment of Norton-Knight.

But he was not expecting the issue to simply disappear overnight. "I know I will cop a bit of heat this week, but I have been copping heat the last few weeks as the media has been putting the knife in lately," said Tuqiri, his comment referring to the criticism for his form this season and the ongoing negotiations over his playing future.

While Tuqiri stood before his teammates in the sanctity of the Waratahs' changeroom to apologise to Norton-Knight, he tried to explain his actions.

"I am a passionate footballer, but my passion overflowed … there was a rush of blood," he said.

Tuqiri said that when NSW were awarded the crucial penalty, he thought the best option would be for Peter Hewat to take the penalty kick.

"But he [Norton-Knight] obviously didn't think that and backed himself," Tuqiri said. "It probably wasn't the right time to do it."

However, Tuqiri admitted that his response was a case of poor judgement as well. "My reaction was probably not right and I should keep those reactions behind closed doors. I want to win games … results are first and foremost."

The tense finale to a game that saw both sides leave with the consolation of two competition points for the draw highlighted the frustration the Waratahs are feeling as the Super 14 season nears half-way. They have had one win, one draw and two losses after five rounds (round four was a bye).

Tuqiri was obviously pumped up for a huge game last night, talking up teammates and giving the opposition some niggle, as Force forward David Pusey found out.

However, as the clock ticked down towards full-time, the emotions were building, especially after the Waratahs were left leaderless without captain and hooker Adam Freier and vice-captain Morgan Turinui, who were replaced in the 52nd minute. NSW coach Ewen McKenzie later said that Rocky Elsom had assumed leadership.

When NSW finally drew level 16-16 off a penalty kicked by Hewat in the 65th minute it was Tuqiri who directed the kick at goal.

It was a game that both sides could have won had they taken advantage of the periods in the game when they were in control. Both sides led the match which became a dull battle for field position.

The Force were the last to lead, from the 43rd minute to the 65th. And when they did take the lead soon after half-time, they seemed to be carrying the first-half momentum that had brought them back from a shocking start to be only 13-11 down.

It was man-of-the-match, the Force's five-eighth Matt Giteau, who then produced the best move of the game, 15m out after seeing NSW second-rower Will Caldwell had drifted wide.

Giteau stepped back inside and charged through the gap to beat opposing No.10 Kurtley Beale to score their second try.

In yesterday's other match, the Blues surged to a 28-9 victory over the Highlanders in Auckland.

NSW 16 (Morgan Turinui try; Peter Hewat con, 3 pens) drew with WESTERN FORCE 16 (Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau tries; Cameron Shepherd 2 pens) at Aussie Stadium. Referee: Paul Marks (Aus). Crowd: 31,149.

Friday, March 02, 2007

What exactly is a Waratah?

A brutal beast of the bush? A vicious lizard? A mythical dragon?

Monday, February 26, 2007

A million miles from home

But happy!

...Half past four in the morning and looking out over the harbour. A half finished glass of water sits on the table, tell-tale signs of another night of excess down under. The city out there is blissfully unaware of the result from Cardiff. But, it matters not a jot. It's the win that counts. Didier Drogba grabbed both goals as Chelsea came from behind to win a Carling Cup final that ended in ugly scenes at the Millennium Stadium. Junior Walcott had given The Arsenal a lead after showing Ricardo Carvalho forged ID...

Full match report to follow when I wake up...


However, the Blues equalised when The Drog beat the infamous The Arsenal offside trap to slot home an equaliser and then with six minutes to go he headed in a powerful winner. A crappy brawl erupted between the sides late on that led to dismissals for Mikel Jon Obi, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor. It was an amusing climax to an intriguing final and cruel luck (yeah right!) on Arsenal's young side, who allegedly dominated for large spells in the last League Cup final in Cardiff.

Arsenal's outfield players had an average age of less than 21 but they showed few nerves in producing some wonderful football before eventually running out of steam. And they fell victim to the clinical finishing of Drogba, who scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season to again deny Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a League Cup medal - which is a real shame!

The Blues had Petr Cech to thank in the 11th minute for a stunning save after Julio Baptista had drilled a shot through the legs of John Terry, who surprisingly overcame an ankle injury to play but ended the day in hospital. Chelsea failed to clear the resulting corner and Walcott exchanged passes with Abou Diaby and glided past Carvalho before keeping his cool to slot the ball past Cech.

The 17-year-old could not have chosen a more predictable time to score his first goal for the Gunners. Although the fact that he was actually allowed to play in a match sponsored by an Alcoholic beverage company, surely a blatant case of flouting the licencing laws, must have been a key factor in Lord Percy's half-hearted attempt to nobble him.

However, fear not stout hearted fellows! The Blues equalised in clinical fashion in the 20th minute. The Arsenal back line pushed up when Michael Ballack played a ball over the top for Drogba, who ran on to slip the ball under Manuel Almunia. It was a split decision given in favour of the attacking player but Wenger spent much of the opening half displaying his anger at a linesman's failure to flag. Well, lordy me! Arsene Wenger moaning again, whatever next.

Arsenal continued to run around a lot and apparently could have restored their lead just before half-time - but for a Lord Percy intervention to deny Jeremie Aliadiere. And the Gunners continued to look the more likely scorers after the break, or so the bloke from the BBC web site reckoned with Diaby denied by Cech and Fabregas shooting just the wrong side of the post.

The Blues lost skipper Terry midway through the half when he took a boot in the face from Diaby as he tried to finish off an Arjen Robben corner. Terry was knocked unconscious and the referee gave a goal-kick. Well, he is Chelsea you know. The brutal and clumsy assault fired up the boys (the things he does to get them going) and they finished strongly and Arsenal's young legs began to tire. All that aimless running around and pouting no doubt. Drogba had a shot saved by Almunia and Frank Lampard produced a dipping long-range shot that smacked against the bar.

In the 84th minute Robben's cross picked out Drogba and he headed past a stranded Almunia, having left the witless Senderos sprawling on the Millenium Stadium's turf for the umpteenth time. Sheva could have made the seven minutes of injury time more bearable but his drilled shot thundered back off the bar. The game ended in a bit of a tizz when Obi clashed with Toure and several players from each team, as well as both managers, got involved in an ugly scuffle. Referee Howard the Duck dished out three red cards to Toure, Adebayor and Obi as well as matching yellows to Fabregas and Super Frank. Over 11 minutes of added-on time was played before the final whistle was blown to hand the first major trophy of the season to Jose and the Boys. One down...

Chelsea: Cech, Diarra, Terry (Mikel 63), Carvalho, Bridge, Makelele (Robben 46), Lampard, Ballack, Essien, Shevchenko (Kalou 90), Drogba. Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ashley Cole.
Sent Off: Mikel (90).
Booked: Essien, Carvalho, Diarra, Lampard.
Goals: Drogba 20, 84.

Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Senderos, Traore (Eboue 66), Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby (Hleb 68), Aliadiere (Adebayor 80), Julio Baptista. Subs Not Used: Poom, Djourou.
Sent Off: Toure (90), Adebayor (90).
Booked: Denilson, Eboue, Fabregas.
Goals: Walcott 12.

Post script.
JT is fine in fact he was back at the stadium soon after the match having checked out of hospital. Flash was last heard of giving it large to all the Gooners and funnily enough the Arsenal fans I know seem all to have their mobiles switched off.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Things I have learned in Australia (1)

Fag breaks are Smoko's
- A slang term used on building sites in Australia, meaning a morning-tea break, or a smoke break.
"we'll knock off at 11 for smoko"
"grab us some pies for smoko"

Chavs are Bogun's
- Australian person, usually caucasian,of uncouth and lower class background,residing on the edge of civilisation. Characteristics of a bogun include,proudly sporting a mullet hair cut,extremely small shorts,a grease stained t-shirt underneath a flanelette shirt of some description.A bogun's natural habitat is any suburb of Australia with low property values,in a house that generally has 2 or 3 cars up on bricks in the front yard with no wheels or missing vital mechanical parts.One of the cars must be a ute(utility vehicle).Boguns are genrally spotted with a stubbie(screw top beer bottle) or bong (pot smoking paraphernalia) in hand.

Dustmen are Garbo's
- Originally Greta Louisa Gustafsson, born in 1905 and perished in 1990. Swedish-born American actress who was known for her preferring to be isolated.Also known for her performances in such films as Queen Christina (1933) and Camille (1937).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keep that bloody noise down

The world's largest ocean liner the Queen Mary 2 has departed Sydney, capping off a brief but historic visit to the harbour city. The $1 billion grand lady of the sea made her maiden visit to Sydney on Tuesday, arriving through the heads at 5.45am before docking at the Garden Island naval base. All of which was very nice, but did they have to make so much noise? As the QM2 came through the heads, it was accompanied but a flotilla of about 100 small ships and a small squadron of news helicopters. Lovely! Ideal in fact after a late night.

It was too tall, at 23 storeys high, to sail under the Harbour Bridge and too long to berth at the International Terminal at Circular Quay. At 7pm Tuesday, the liner was joined by her smaller sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2, the two greeting each other with the sound of their foghorns as the QE2 sailed past on her way to Circular Quay.

Where as luck would have it I was due to have share the best part of a bottle or two of crispy white with my Finnish friend. The locals response to the arrival was very refreshing. Full of awe and innocence that the worlds two most famous cruise ships had deigned to pop in to see Sydney. Up close the QE2 looked a bit rusty but I'm sure it is perfectly sea-worthy (remember where you read it first). Apparently there was a huge firework display but we missed that as the QE2 had blocked out the sky. However, I did get to share in the battle for a taxi home afterwards. So, I do feel as though I was a part of the whole historic experience.

That's Sydney for you. A little bit of history every day!

Go to this link to see a video

Sunday, February 11, 2007

If only we'd had a bit more of a challenge (part 2) or On days like this I wish I was going in to work tomorrow

International Triangular Series
Australia: 152-8 ( 27.0 overs )
England: 246-8 ( 50.0 overs )
England beat Australia by 34 runs (D/L)
Rain stopped play

England won their first major overseas one-day tournament since 1997 as they beat Australia by 34 runs in the second match of the finals series in Sydney. Paul Collingwood hit 70 in England's 246-8 before Liam Plunkett took three wickets in Australia's top order. Three weather interruptions - and the regular loss of wickets - meant Australia's target was adjusted twice. They ultimately needed 211 from 33 overs and finished on 152-8 from 27, before rain ended play completely. Collingwood, who came into this match after back-to-back centuries, was named man of the finals series after another vital innings.

It was the first time in 14 years that Australia had lost in the finals of their home one-day series - and the first time England have won this particular tournament since 1986-87, when they also clinched the Ashes.

I can't wait until tomorrow. Postmen, shop assistants, school children etc.... Are they going to cop some stick!

Friday, February 09, 2007

If only we'd had a bit more of a challenge (part 1)

International Triangular Series
Australia: 252 ( 48.3 overs )
England: 253-6 ( 49.3 overs )
England beat Australia by 4 wickets

Friday, February 02, 2007

We won, we bloody won...

England completed their first victory over Australia since the 2005 Ashes after Ed Joyce's century in Sydney. Joyce, dropped twice, made 107 from 142 balls to help better by 66 England's previous best of the one-day series. Chasing 293, Australia were bowled out for 200 in 38.5 overs, with Andrew Symonds having retired hurt on 39. Matthew Hayden was top-scorer with 51. Liam Plunkett (3-24) and Sajid Mahmood (2-38) both struck in the first eight balls to cut the hosts to 4-2.

It was the fourth-heaviest defeat inflicted by England on Australia in a one-day match.

And I was there! Can't help but think that if I'd only come out in November!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Evidently Clarkesintown

John Cooper Clarke - The Basement, Circular Quay, Sydney

Bloody gigs, bloody queues, old bloody punks back in the news
bloody hell, it's johnny Clark only booked by some bright spark
who bloody booked him at the Quay, only wished it was bloody free
bloody starts at 10 o'clock, start the evening at the bloody rocks
bloody meet my bloody mate, whose always bloody, bloody late
bloody get into the gig, served by a man in a bloody wig
bloody drink the bloody beer, have to stand at the bloody rear
bloody bloke comes on the stage, bloody langford shows my age
he bloody sings a bloody song, that bloody goes on bloody long
the bloody moment's bloody come, he trips on stage for bloody fun
he bloody still wears punks poetry crown, cos bloody evidently Clarkesintown

Friday, January 05, 2007

Don't worry Pietersen is still in...

Admittedly arriving in Sydney with England 4-0 down in the Ashes series, facing a rampant Australia is perhaps not the finest piece of timing. However, as I rock up to the SCG alongside various other members of the Barmy Army, a small grain of comfort is taken from the fact that KP is at the crease. Maybe, we'll put up a bit more of a fight today.

Well, that lasted all of three balls!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

And there is supposed to be a drought...

Touchdown and it's raining. Proper rain, sheets of the stuff, plummeting down on my tired old head. After 28 hours of travel, here I am (all) washed up on the shores of Sydney harbour and all with less than £30 in my pocket (still that should see me through till Christmas 08).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We won't be druv (Part 3)

County Championship - Division One:
Nottinghamshire v Sussex
20-09-2006 at Trent Bridge, Day 3 of 4
Sussex beat Nottinghamshire by an innings and 245 runs
Sussex won the toss and decided to bat
Sussex 1st Innings
560 for 5 (127.0 overs)
Nottinghamshire 1st Innings
165 all out (54.2 overs)
Nottinghamshire 2nd Innings
150 all out (27.3 overs)

Sussex complete the double - Nuff said!
P W D L Ba Bo Pts
1 Sussex 16 9 2 5 49 47 242.0
2 Lancashire 16 6 1 9 58 46 224.0
3 Hampshire 16 6 3 7 48 48 207.0
4 Warwickshire 16 6 5 5 42 43 189.0
5 Kent 16 4 4 8 43 44 175.0
6 Yorkshire 16 3 6 7 43 41 154.0
7 Durham 16 4 8 4 39 43 153.5
8 Notts 16 4 7 5 40 37 153.0
9 Middlesex 16 1 7 8 47 42 133.5

Shame about Middlesex!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We won't be druv (Part 2)

It's 5.00 am in the sleepy Devon holiday home that CT is currently making a mess of. Time to get up, get washed, get dressed and get ready for the Taxi. It might well be in the middle of the family holiday but this is important. Sussex are playing at Lords. Taxi arrives at 5.50 and manages to miss the early train by 2 minutes, leaving Tiger with a tricky 50 minutes to negotiate sans seat, coffee, newspaper and anything warm/dry to wear. The train finally arrives 15 minutes late at which point the best laid plans etc start to unravel. The Taunton connection won't wait and the ghastly thought of missing the first couple of hours of play (by which time Sussex will have decimated the Lancs batting line up) looms large. Trouble averted though, as connection arrives late and I make it to Lords with 20 minutes to spare.

However, when talking of arriving late, the various railway companies of Great Britain cannot hold a torch to The Gent. Travelling up from near Lewes compared to my great trek from Devon, The Gent contrived to be a sumptuous 70 minutes behind schedule. Whilst, he battles with his own conscience I slump into my rain soaked seat and prepare myself for action.

Skipper Chris Adams admitted he would have bowled first had he won the toss after a 15-minute delay because of morning rain, with early movement on offer in the air and off the pitch. I also admit that I would have started on Red Stripe if I'd been thinking straight but no, straight into the Champagne it was. Whilst the first glass was being tossed back The Sharks chances took an immediate blow when Tom Smith (ex-Liverpool hard man) made a diving stop at backward point and threw down the wicket to run out Richard Montgomerie. Oh, Bugger!

A gung-ho mixture of dashing bravado and big match nerves on the part of the Sharks batsmen seemingly prevented them from rebuilding effectively from there. Matt Prior flashed three boundaries, including a lofted drive, before spooning a catch off Hogg high in the air to mid-on. Double Bugger!

Grizzly survives two run out chances before Mahmood joined the attack after 12 overs and gains some extra bounce with his second delivery to have him caught at slip. Murray Goodwin cuts a ball that was too short from Chapple and Carl Hopkinson is run out by Cork at mid-off as he fails to ground his bat. Loads of Buggers! More Champagne please.

Robin Martin-Jenkins is unlucky to be dismissed, though, as TV replays showed Chapple's delivery caught RMJ's pad, rather than, bat as it crept through the gate. Murmurs of discontent from the Edrich Stand. Sussex then turn defence into attack. England call-up Michael Yardy (37) and Pakistani Yasir Arafat (37) share a pugnacious seventh-wicket partnership of 56.

Amir Khan's cousin returns to halt the revival as Arafat feathers a catch attempting to cut a slower ball and eventually finishes with 3-16. And the mercenary Kartik justified his selection ahead of veteran Gary Keedy by trapping Yardy lbw to end a 96-ball vigil, then having Wright stumped after a dashing run-a-ball 19. Sussex have definitely missed a trick by not following Lancashires lead and calling up Messrs Ponting, Tendulkar and Lara , because I'm sure they were free this weekend.

As they begin their chase, Lancashire's 12th victory in a Lord's finale seems a formality. By this time the Champagne tent beckoned. The game looked well and truly up. However, a judicious bit of loitering by the bar turned an impending defeat into glorious victory. No sooner had the third cork flown into the sky than we were on our way.

Mal Loye, a perennial thorn in our side, demonstrates the Northerners confidence by slog-sweeping Kirtley for six. Happily Kirters gains revenge with his next legal delivery, though, earning the first of three lbw dismissals in his opening spell. Loye missed a delivery that jagged back off the seam, Nathan Astle was trapped in front with an inswinger and Stuart Law made his displeasure clear at being distracted by the sound of ribald laughter from the nursery end, as he edged onto his pad (Shame).

Mushy then shows what Pakistan have been missing this summer as he bowled 10 consecutive overs of spin and guile, returning figures of 2-19. Opener Mark Chilton was stumped for 20 off the leg-spinner in the 23rd over and Glen Chapple's dismissal rewarded Sussex for putting a short-leg fielder in place in the 25th.

It's time to head back and watch the action live. No sooner had we done that than Lancs started putting up a fight. However, Luke Wright then had Luke Sutton caught hooking a short ball to midwicket in an expensive first spell. Fortunately, he did well in the late overs, making Kyle Hogg (28) his second victim after a gritty stand of 58 with Cork.

It looked as though Cork might yet see the red rose county to an improbable win. He hit an unbeaten 35 but ran out of partners as Kirtley tied up victory with 16 balls to spare, pretty much as predicted by Tiger’s dream. On a pitch that helped the bowlers throughout, Kirtley finished with 5-27 - with all his victims out lbw - to take the man of the match award. Cue massed celebrations, much hugging and gentlemanly handshakes. As the Lancastrians headed out of Lords, Grizzly lifted the cup to a raucous rendition of “Good Old Sussex by the Sea”. Fireworks lit up the grey London skies and a tear or two of joy was shed as the mighty Sussex went doo-lally!

After what seems like an age I finally head back to Paddington. What happened on the journey back to Bigbury-on-Sea is still being dissected by criminal psychologists and therefore cannot be released to the public at this time. Suffice to say when Tiger finally arrived home it was either very, very late or very, very early. Depending entirely on your perspective… which by this stage was very, very blurred!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We won't be druv (Part 1)

C&G Trophy final, Lord's: Sussex 172 (47.1 overs) beat Lancashire 157 (47.2 overs) by 15 runs

We're the men from Sussex, Sussex by the Sea.
We plough and sow and reap and mow,
And useful men are we;
And when you go to Sussex,
Whoever you may be,
You may tell them all that we stand or fall
For Sussex by the Sea !
Oh Sussex, Sussex by the Sea !
Good old Sussex by the Sea !
You may tell them all that we stand or fall,
For Sussex by the Sea

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Terror Panic at 35,000 feet"

Following the report in todays Evening Standard I would like to hastily rewrite my previous post as obviously Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter knows far more about it than me. I was only on the plane, I mean what exactly do I know. Passenger revolt, my arse!

Tiger Flight BA179

You see! You shouldn't joke about these things. No sooner are you settled into your seat, awaiting the cheese & chive flavoured pretzels when all of a sudden a phone rings.

Nothing too unusual about that you might think, except when it happens two minutes after take-off on a flight out of Heathrow during the height of a major security alert. Cue mild hysteria and over-reaction by rows 25- 37. The other slightly disturbing thing was that after deciding not to answer it, apparently Mr A Bomber wasn't booked on our flght, it was then decided to smother it with pillows and blankets - utterly brilliant, in fact a totally inspired response!

Once the cunning terrorist (or forgetful idiot) foiling ruse had been undertaken, it was then followed by a Milliganesque bout of "What are we going to do now?" by all and sundry. This then seemingly led us to cruise at about 4 mph and 15ft while the Captain and 'The Company' decided what to do next. Break out the Vodka? Sing a few rousing hymns to cheer everyone up? Dish out the prayer mats? No! What we'll do is hand out bags of mixed nuts. All that we needed was a packet of Bensons, a pint of mild and bitter and a quick quiz and the scene would have been perfect. With the Captain asking the killer tie-break question - How tall is Big Ben? Answer about 6ft 6"

So, once the nuts were sorted out (a popular move, with all but the nut allergy sufferers i.e. me). What to do next involved heading for Shannon airport. BA didn't fancy making a mess over Wales apparently - (insert own gag here). Then better still not wishing to cause a scene over Ireland' (first time for everything) the instruction came to fly on out over the Atlantic, only then to inform the plucky souls of flight BA 179 that actually we really ought to head back. More out of deference to the bloke who was obviously very keen to speak to someone on the plane. And we all know about steep 'roaming' charges... The only downside to this was the fact that we had loads of fuel on board so that needed to be dumped before headiing back to terra firma. The sight of Kerosene being chucked willy-nilly into the Atlantic just about topped the whole experience off. Fly tipping in its truest form!

So, some four + hours after boarding Tiger disembarked to be greeted by the sight of three BA employees being beseiged by over a hundred indignant passengers. At this stage CT confesses to taking a backseat, eating a crunchie and trying to work out how to turn the whole thing to his advantage - Could three days in a hotel with mini-bar, a couple of good books and no mobile phone be the answer?

Sadly, the options were limited, fly out in 2 hours perhaps, with no luggage or hang around Heathrow until Tuesday. Book a room at the Hilton and wait for luggage to arrive and dust to settle. Well, best laid plans etc. No room at the Inn, isn't that how the whole of this thing started? Therefore only thing for it. Back to North London and back to the loft in about 30 minutes flat, where the air is cleanish, the rain wet certainly, the Vodka plentiful and cheese and chive pretzels are the only thing on the menu.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sod the footie, Fidel's fit!

Tiger was just about to sulk his way through a couple of generous SB's when some top news flickered across the Muswell Hill radar (via terminal 4). A state-controlled newspaper in Cuba has published the first photographs of President Fidel Castro since he had surgery two weeks ago. The paper Juventud Rebelde also carried an 80th birthday message from President Castro, saying he was recovering but warning Cubans to be ready for "adverse news" - Thus predicting the result from the Millenium stadium!

He has not been seen since he handed power temporarily to his brother. Well, the test match has been on and you know the weather has been pretty good. Official birthday celebrations were cancelled but Havana held a giant concert on Saturday. (Despite the obvious disappointment of Fidel's non-appearance thankfully the crowd didn't have to suffer any of Razorshite, Radiohead, Babyshambles or Kasabian!)

The pictures released by the Juventud Rebelde newspaper show President Castro speaking on the phone and holding Saturday's edition of the Communist Party newspaper Granma, in a fairly cool move to show the pictures are current. From a style point of view he looked well natty in his Adidas Cuba tracksuit.

In his statement, President Castro said his health had improved considerably but cautioned that his recovery would not be quick, especially after a few more Cubra Libre's than the Doctor ordered.

"I ask you all to be optimistic and at the same time to be ready to face any adverse news," the statement said. It followed up with a four hour critique of Chelsea's somewhat lacklustre perfomance against Liverpool. The key issues were the brutal intimidation of Michael Ballack by the running dog lackeys of American imperialism and the real need for a decent left back.

He thanked Cubans for their loyal support and said that on the day of his birthday, 13 August, he "felt very happy with our pre-season form, despite todays reversal" but he warned against complacency.

In a report of a visit to the Cuban president's bedside, the paper suggested Mr Castro was "firm like a caguairan" - likening Cuba's revolutionary leader to a sturdy tropical hardwood tree. The paper also compared him to WG Grace and highlighted his career batting average of 100.00 as being bettered only by that of V.I.Lenin 122.25. No comment was made of his somewhat disappointing performance with the ball since 1996, when he shortened his run and experimented with what can only be described as dibby-dobby medium pace, albeit still producing the occasional wicket taking snorter!

Recounting the observations of a (made up by the western press) unidientified visitor, President Castro was said to be "up and about, like someone anticipating new victories". Quite obviously saving himself for the new premiership season.

Neither President Castro nor his brother, Geoff, have been seen in public for the past fortnight, fuelling speculation both in Cuba and in Florida, home to many Cuban exiles, about who is in charge. Well, Tiger thinks it is pretty obvious. Jose!

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Havana says Sunday's pictures are clearly aimed at conveying a message of continuity to the Cuban people. Well. Stephen Gibbs would say that wouldn't he - twat!

President Fidel Castro became Cuban president 47 years ago after leading the overthrow of American funded pimp Fulgencio Batista who was booted out of town like the snivelling Derby County fan that he was. President Castro is one of the world's longest-ruling leaders, has outlasted nine US presidents and it doesn't matter which team you support. You've got to admit that, that is cool!

Viva La revolucion! Up the blues! Long Live Fidel!

Watching the blues lose again...

A couple of dry whites into the afternoon, CT finds himself at Heathrow - Terminal 4. The Bomb squad, God squad and Osgood all thrown into the mix. Tiger is heading off to NYC for a couple of days of exceptionally hard graft but before he does so. He has to find a way of keeping up with the mighty blues against the dirty reds. No sooner has he sat down than bad news seeps through. The Scousers are 2-1 up via the joys of t'Internet. 10 minutes to go and we are doomed to an early season hiccup.... That being said Chelsea are going to struggle to retain the title this year. Too many good players out of the club and not enough resource across the squad to keep it ticking over. Oh, well it is only football and what does it matter?

What kind of damn fool question is that?

Tiger heads off through gate 1c cursing the result, the balance of the team and the impending 3 days in NYC!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tiger meets Scritti Politti in an Arthouse

Having waited over 25 years since first hearing the honey soaked tones of Scritti Politti's Green Gartside... I found myself standing in the warmth of an August evening in the ground of the Tate Britain, clutching a modest glass of Chablis and hoping and praying that a) I hadn't missed them, b) they'd turn up and C) the previous poor review I had read was not a true reflection of what was to come. To my absolute delight; I hadn't, they did and it wasn't.

Double G & The Traitorous 3 + 2, not so much hit the stage but found themselves there having been ushered on by some sweet reggae grooves. A brief hiatus ensued whilst Green tried to get his foot peddles working and then Boom! Into a set mainly plucked gently from White Bread, Black Beer. In particular E Eleventh Nuts and After Six sounded even better live. The band fell into a solid natural groove and the evening just sped by as shooting stars flew overhead.

The Boom Boom Bap, a corking couple of Hip Hop covers then The Sweetest Girl as a lovely little skank (with the sweetest girl on bass - I believe the word is YOWSAH!). A beautiful red flag drenched Robin Hood, all the way through to finishing off with Woodbeez (Pray like Aretha Franklin). And above it all that voice, maturing over the last 25 Years - A sweet tender thing of real beauty. As the final ker-ching of Woodbeez echoed out across the Thames, the crowd gently slipped away into the swirl of a beautiful evening and the last sip of Chablis washed down a truly fantastic night. Another 25 years, I think not. I think not indeed.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The day Tiger went to the World Cup

Lunchtime in Frankfurt, leaning gently into a second bottle of crispy white. The old town streets full of Mexican families lapping up the sun, Paraguayan supporters demolishing the biggest pile of chips that you ever did see and English fans scurrying from bar to bar determined to drink another German city dry.

This is the World Cup Semi-Final day and 8 hours from kick-off and the tension is starting to build. Guido, the Italian waiter mutters "Forza Italia" under his breath at every opportunity, whilst Hans his boss urges us to support the hosts. Tiger feigns impartiality with the dreaded words "We are just fans of World football mate!". Both seem happy as Tiger discharges the remnants of the last glass of the third bottle of a cheeky little Chablis and head back. In the car bets are taken.

At the Hotel one of our party is missing, confined to his bed with little more than a wet flannel to save him from a raging fever. Sympathy abounds, our taxi awaits and with Mehmet (Turkeys first ever GP driver) at the wheel, we're off! Dortmund here we come!!

Ten minutes later, allowing for a couple of wrong turns (Mehmet's Co-pilot was not the smartest of chaps), we arrive. The Co-pilot pays the man and then spends four hours haggling over where to meet after the match. Whilst this great meeting of minds takes place, Tiger takes in the moment. The stadium surrounds are awash with thousands of home fans enveloped in newly liberated Bundesflagge. Pockets of Azzurri survey the scene like a fox outside the chicken run. A smattering of delightfully trollied sons of Albion weave their way through the crowds like Peter Crouch through a Brazilian defence (i.e. barging straight through, falling over and being stared at in utter disbelief).

It has to be said that Tiger is not a complete stranger to the world of corporate entertainment. However, even Tiger was staggered at the oppulence of the FIFA corporate village (more like a futuristic space settlement). Is a jacuzzi really necessary? Does every discerning footie fan really need a casino on site? As for full scale flight simulators, well we ask you? Despite all of this frippery, they did serve a fine array of food and more essentially the WW oppoprtunities were plentiful.

After a swift replenishment. Into the impressively long-named stadium and to our seats, which we proceed to stand on for the whole 120 minutes. From kick-off to final whistle the quality of the football is astounding. No aimless hoofing to the 'big fella up front', no misplaced passes or bad first touches. Just quality control, intelligent running and beautifully finessed passing and probing attacks. All at extreme pace. It was a display of real verve and style by both sides and the referee was even better! Ballack (supposedly unfit and slated by the press) gliding between his own defence and the Italian back four prompting the Germans forward. Whilst in response the Azzurri were driven on by the gutsy Gattuso and the peerless priceless Pirlo (Gawd bless ya Mr Keating!).

Penalties looming and a frenzied Italian surge leading to the sublime moment. Lehmann (of the big hands, big head and big ego) kept his team in it until the moment that silences the length and breadth of Deutschland. Fabio Grosso curled a wonderful shot around the outstretched grasp of the despairing Gooner. Cue large scale in-take of breath in the stadium and a small scale explosion of delight in block 2, row 7 seat 136. The true blue colours of the Crouch End Ultra exploded in delirium. "You're not singing anymore...", "I'm going home in a German ambulance", "Come on you Blues" all muttered underneath the breath a la Guido. The Routemaster goal (i.e. wait ages and two come at once - I refuse to call it The BendyBus goal) is driven home by Del Piero. The Italians go wild, the Germans go home and Tiger goes back to the bar .

Following much post match analysis, the handing over of many Euros to the Ultra and a smattering of crispies. We depart to find Mehmet (who is fresh from breaking the Frankfurt-Dortmund land speed record). Despite the fine endeavours of the Co-Pilot, Mehmet is missing, presumably negotiating his next Indy 500 drive. Tiger retires to a Budweiser sponsors party - Well, to tell the truth, Tiger distracted two of the surly bouncer chappies, diverted attention as the team plunged into the midst of the wake. After a couple of Budweisers the need for an alcoholic drink came on strong. Fortunately, Mehmet arrived and before we'd done our seatbelts up we are back in the relative safety of our hotel bar. One more for the Strasse and then off to bed.

Tomorrow has already begun. The sun is already starting to peer round the corners of the curtains in the spartan bedroom. Sitting on the bed Tiger nurses a gentle Italian whilst trying to work out how to get BBC 24 on the tv. All these subtitles are ruining the plot. What a day, what a night, what a match. What on earth are we going to do with the dead body in room 512?