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".