…And the Nominations Are…


Let’s have a quick round-up of the nominees for this year’s award for
Best Picture with a (Non) Sporting Theme:

cranium

Starring Alan Pardew and David Meyler. Dir: Alan Pardew.
(Also nominated for “We Need to talk about Alan”).

.

coma

Starring Harald Schumacher and the body of Patrick Battiston.

.
crouching

Star: Eric Cantona. Prod: Eric Cantona. Dir:Eric Cantona. From an original screenplay by Eric Cantona. Half time oranges by Eric Cantona. And some fishermen.

.

french

Star: Zinedine ‘Popeye’ Zidane.

.

hairspray

Prod: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Michael Ball. Exec Prods: Frank Rijkaard & Rudi Voller.

.

kungfu

 Star: Nigel de Jong. Prod: Michel Platini & Stepp Ladder.

.

platoonStar: Maradona. Music. Lyrics & Choreography: Madonna.

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It’s the old 26-1-26-2 Formation


Last night’s Season Finale of I’m Scared of Fast Bowling, Get me Out of Here brought to a predictable close another in a long line of less than heroic sporting disasters. I’ve been going to The Valley, SE7 to gawp at Charlton Athletic FC ‘play’ football since 1977 (see elsewhere in these pages) and the sight of one side running rings around another, like adults versus kids, is not an unusual one for me.

So as you sit back and watch the following clip, try to picture CAFC vrs Tottenham, or even one of the big sides like Stoke. This is how it is for us every week.

(And for those of you watching in black and white, Charlton Athletic are in the red.)

Enough with the Soccer Already


They say that every time an accountant is born, an angel dies. Or something like that. Well I’d like to add to and improve that well-worn phrase. How about “Every time the Football Season starts before the end of the cricket season or most people have taken their summer holidays, a puppy loses its ears”? Ok, it may be not quite as sweet or catchy as the original, but you get my meaning.

The People's Game returns

Ahhhh….The People’s Game returns

Yes, unbelievably (although someone writes this every year) the cries of “onmeeadsun” and “backdoorbackdoor” could be heard throughout the land this weekend, and not just from the open windows at Catholic Church Boys homes. The minor English divisions took to the field/pitch, whatever they call it on Planet Sky TV this season, and play was resumed as usual. Charlton Athletic lost, as usual, and youngsters in English streets had a kickabout inbetween cars and fell over for no apparent reason, imitating their heroes.  Lads in Scotland, who were fortunate enough not to be in the charge of the local priest, played fitba in the park in the style of their own local heroes: ran around in front of three bored (yet aggressive) bigoted onlookers, had no proper goalies and all went into administration afterwards.

And yet up in the Third World, the Manchester Third Test is still grinding to a halt, as is cricket’s wont. There are still two huge matches to come in this current cricket season. There are still 11 days of Aussie whingeing, England cheating and Deaf Dumb & Blind umpiring (Jimmy: Sure Bowls a Mean Short Ball) but you’d get good odds on Roman Abramovich sacking this week’s manager down at Chelski before Alastair Cook has taken his pads off for the winter.

Reculver - Twinned with Syria's Homs

Reculver – Twinned with Syria’s Homs

The Incumbent and I have yet to take ourself away on our our annual family summer trip to Reculver, and yet the pies and bovril are being re-heated at football grounds all over the country and I’ve yet to oil myself up and squeeze my slight frame into the newly-purchased 38″ Union Jack speedos (Matalan, 3 pairs for a fiver!).

I know it’s a plea that will fall on deaf eyes, a request which, like my application to be the new Dr Who, will remain ignored until Gallifrey freezes over, but is there any way that fitba, football, or even soccer can remain a winter pastime, so the rest of us can enjoy uninterrupted coverage of the Test Match series, the Croquet Season and our buckets & spades, at least until late September ?

No, I thought there wasn’t.

One Day More. Until the Next One.


It has been brought to my attention that there are those who would rather watch Les Miserables than Django Unchained. Also that there are those who are more excited about which team Darren Bent will play for this week, than whether the Welsh Rugby Team can continue their wonderfully entertaining run of form this Saturday. It is, as you well know, a funny old world. Yes, Association Football’s transfer deadline is upon us again — with the added delight of the T’BBC Salford now joining the Sky Sports team in beaming us images of miserable and wet reporters standing outside Main Road or The Baseball Ground informing us that they spotted the Evian van arrive early this morning, but the driver was tight-lipped about the prospect of who was in or who was out.

So for those people who enjoy such things, here’s a timely piece— what the youth are calling a mashup— a MASH-UP— I believe. Pay particular attention to Marouane Fellaini‘s hopping between Italian, Welsh and Generic Johnny Foreigner accents. Mind you, ’tis a fine piece of work, even if I am none the wiser what a Belgian sounds like, and which has put me off even more (if such was possible)  from going to see the movie at the Kinema (is Ron Moody still in it ?).

Eating up the Real Estate


This just in:

NEW YORK – October 28, 2012 – NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Premier League through a multi-year agreement that begins with the 2013-14 season, both parties announced today. Per the agreement, NBCUniversal becomes the exclusive English- and Spanish-language media rights holder to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States.

“The Barclays Premier League is the preeminent soccer league in the world, and is on the cusp of exponential popularity growth here in the U.S.,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “NBCU will provide the broadest programming and promotional commitment that the league has ever experienced here in the United States. The Premier League provides NBCU with best-in-class content for 10 months of the year across our far-reaching broadcast, cable and digital platforms. This is a perfect match.”

Ah yes, Mark Lazarus. I wondered if he’d be making a comeback.

Anywho, it always warms the cockles knowing that the round ball game is making yet another attempt to become popular in the States. The sport is currently played by about 73 billion girls but always seems to fall way short of becoming a mainstream attraction, when up against Pro Football, Hockey, Basketball, Mass Indiscriminate Shootings and Course Fishing. And talking of little girls playing the game, I did enjoy Fernando Torres’ contribution to competitive sport yesterday.

So let’s hope that NBC, taking over the coverage from Fox (bless ’em) can boost the ratings that at some stage down the line Yank soccer players become global names – just like Clint Dempsey isn’t and that ginger fella with the stupid ZZ Top beard wasn’t. However good or bad the NBC coverage is, they’d do well to top Mike Sweinberger and Randy Wakeman III, the masters of the onion bag chat.Tragic to report that these two guys are no longer on air, having themselves been dropped by Fox/Sky, yet David Pleat and Garth Crooks are still in gainful employment.

Whole lotta airtime on that soccer ball.

Happy Talk


In the words of Supertramp: It’s Raining Again. It’s always raining. Foreigners may have this image of England always being covered in either pea-soupers or rain, but this time – even by our low standards – we’ve had rotten weather. We seem to have missed out on summer altogether this year. Winter-Spring-Autumn-Winter, that’s how 2012 will be remembered. It’s wet and it’s bloody cold too. The only few weeks of the whole summer to escape the rain was the sodding Olympics. I’m so happy.

I haven’t even had my birthday yet and it’s already Guy Fawkes weather: that time in the year when us Brits traditionally gather round the bonfire to mourn the fact that some bunch of Catholics failed to blow up The Houses of Parliament a few hundred years ago. Tradition has it that mum sits inside, sometimes in the cupboard under the stairs , comforting the dog and cupping its ears, while the kids stand in the garden watching dad and Slightly-Dodgy-Uncle Colin try to light damp fireworks.

After a several swearwords and a couple of boxes of Swan Vestas they give up, let the kids play with a few sparklers right up until one of the abandoned-cos-it’s-no-fucking-use fireworks decides to ignite itself and launch itself at an angle of 37.5° towards the house. Dad and Colin, by now a tad elephants, hit the deck like Luis Suarez on a day out in Stoke; the kids piss themselves with delight; the dog shits himself and bites mum. A good night is had by all.

A week before all this we have another in a long line of American imports to endure: Halloween night. Or more annoyingly and importantly: Trick or Treaters. Little fuckers. None of this ever took place during my formative years (and we can blame ET for the start of its popularity over here). I don’t even recall there even being Halloween cards in the shops while I was growing up (sic), just a few abortive attempts at pumpkin carving, and the odd whiff of a lit lantern here and there. Certainly no fancy-dress parades, and no banging on doors demanding sweets in lieu of forfeits or punishment.

Last year, The Incumbent and I hid behind the sofa when some herberts came to call, but were paid back with eggs being thrown at the house. I say it was herberts, it may well have been my mum and dad – they are at a funny age and I don’t ring home enough. Apparently Jimmy Savile would scare callers by wearing a scary costume, and waving about his gnarled pumpkin. I’m not sure what he did at Halloween.

(By the way, my pal Ciaran tells me that this years Guantanamo Bay’s Christmas Panto is to be Peter Pan. Apparently, Abu Hamza is chuffed to bits with the part he’s been offered.)

But enough of that.

So finally (and in reverse order) a couple of weeks before Halloween we (and when I say we, I mean I) will arrive with rather too much speed for my liking at my birthday. Though this year ‘s anniversary of my birth will not be greeted with as much dread, depression and trepidation as is the custom round these here parts. I watched the cricket yesterday, where the West Indies gave the hosts, Sri Lanka, a real pasting – as they had done to England a week or so earlier.

I am nearly 48 years old, I had a stroke last year (I may have mentioned it) and I am looking dow the wrong end of 17 stone, but if Ravi Rampaul and Johnson Charles are international cricketers, capable of being in a World Championship-winning team, then I am once more strapping myself into my lucky Bobby Tambling jockstrap, rubbing-in a tin of Ralgex into my aching body and again taking to the field of play. Put me down as “Available for Selection”, please. I might even put on some kit before the match begins.

“Do I detect a certain happiness in your demeanour, Mike?” I don’t hear you ask. Well, funny you shouldn’t ask: The reason you find me so happy-go-lucky today is that I was told this week by a consultant specialising in strokes (there’s that Mr Savile again) that I am ‘very unlikely’ (which is good enough for me) that I will have a recurrence of the explosion in my bonce which caused my original stroke. Even though I still suffer the occasional bouts of dizziness, numbness, and miserableness, this is normal and in a few years all such niggles should disappear (with the possible exception of the miserableness) and that I should feel free to lead a normal existence, think myself lucky, and stop worrying about stuff. “And for fuck’s sake cheer up, you sad bastard.”

So this is the new, happy me. Get used to it. Or fuck off.

Woe is Me


Oh Dear, there does seem to be a lot of moaning about, doesn’t there ?

For starters, our footballers are getting upset because the country fell in love with our Olympic medallists but doesn’t show the same love and affection to our highly paid players of our national game. Apparently, we don’t show the soccer boys the same respect on or off the field as that which we offer the you people who enjoyed their ‘famous for 2 minutes, thirty-three seconds’ moment at Olympic Park.

The public, so the argument goes, showed empathy, sympathy and tenderness to these otherwise unknowns, most of whom had given up everything in their quest to earn a little bit of heavy metal, not to say a little piece of sporting history. We adored those who seem overcome with joy when they receive an award for coming third, yet we don’t display the same affection to our football-playing heroes. No, I can’t understand it either.

Unless…

…Unless it’s because we’re sick of the over-paid, sexist, racist, cheating, cuckolding, mercenary, diving ,falling, screaming, crying, stealing, drunk-driving, violent, bitter, niggly,(did I mention cheating ?) unsporting, pampered,self-centred, selfish, spoilt, spit-roasting, ungracious, disingenuous, stab-you-in-the-back-when-my-contract-finishes aresholes that they are.

Ahhh. That’s better.

Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes‘ has the right ‘ump. Or at least the geezer who played him does. The actor Benedict Cumberbatch (now there’s an East-End name if I ever heard one) has said in interview that he is considering leaving the country because people keep accusing him of being posh. He only ever, apparently, lands posh roles. People seem to think he’s from the Upper Classes. Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch feels he has been mistreated and mis-pigeonholed as a toff. Heaven forfend.

In a world where people are losing jobs hand-over fist; in a country where the Government, the Banks, the Police force, the National Press and who know who else are being exposed daily as corrupt and fraudulent; in a world where 25 million kids are officially starving; does the fact that someone labels you as a ‘Posh Bloke’ really matter one jot ? Methinks he protest too much.

I’m sorry Benny (as I know he likes to be called – well it’s preferable to ‘Dict’) is a tad miffed at the suggestion that he was born with a silver salver in his mouth. His roles in the aforementioned Sherlock, the truly woeful War Horse and in Tinker Tailor… do tend to give the audience the impression that he is rather well-bred. Maybe he just affects speaking well, acts beautifully and is really the eldest son of Bob Hoskins and Katie Price ? I don’t really mind, and I suspect no-one gives a toss about where he comes from. He’s actually rather good at what he does, and most of us are fully aware that there are people among us who speak well and proper. We don’t care, do we ? (Fortunately for me I have never possessed an accent, posh or otherwise, at which anyone could pour scorn on).

So I looked him up on that wiki thing (no, not that one, the legal one). How impressed was I ?? Not only is his mum Wanda Ventham who, apart from being a 60s and 70s pin-up was in Carry On CleoCarry On Up the Khyber and was Cassandra’s Mum in Only Fools and Horses, but his dad played Colin Pillock in Reggie Perrin. What a pedigree !

L-R Benedict’s mum and dad: Colin Pillock and Wanda

Benedict: Do me a favour. Shut the fuck up and keep on acting and living over here. No-one loves a moaner, do they boys & girls ?

norfsarfADVERT

A British All-Conners Record


The Daily Telegraph writes:

Olympic beer to cost £7.23 a pint


Bars at the official Games venues will charge £4.80 for a small serving of London 2012 red wine. For visitors with an appetite for traditional British fare, a portion of cod and chips will set them back at least £8.

The London 2012 organisers, who published sample menus yesterday, claimed the prices were “more than comparable” to catering costs at other sporting events. An estimated 14 million meals will be served to spectators across 40 locations during the Games.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, said the organisers had “gone to great lengths” to find “high quality, tasty food that celebrates the best of Britain”.

A 330ml bottle of Heineken lager at the Games will cost £4.20, making the equivalent price of a pint £7.23. This is more than double the national average price of £3.17 for a pint of beer.

Spectators will pay £2.10 for a toasted teacake, £2.30 for a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola and £2 for a cup of tea. A family of four should be able to buy food and drinks for under £40, according to London 2012. “

They say this last bit without a hint of irony. That’ll be 40 quid on top of the four £450 tickets to watch 20 minutes of the 1m synchronized ping pong. But who the fuck cares any more? We let these robbers get away with it, as we string up our flags and bunting, wave our Union Jacks and remark “ooh hasn’t that nice Mr Coe got old since he took over the games ?”. Of course he looks old. So would you if you had to lug great wads of cash home every night, under the cover of darkness.

Let’s not worry about it. Let’s light up the barbies, sing God Save the Queen for the Jubilee and give thanks that in these harsh times of mass unemployment, crime and poverty, when more and more are driven to stealing to feed themselves and their families, when the southern half of continental Europe is about to go under, we still have a time and the tact to celebrate and wave at a woman who drives around in a solid gold coach.

Let’s shout “C’mon Ingerlund” as the Ukrainian and Polish Nazi Parties beat the shite out of football fans from ethnic backgrounds (well, anyone who isn’t Ukrainian or Polish really), and all this because Michel Platini and his Uefa mafia turn a blind eye to racism and violence within football culture, just as long as he gets his big bucks (or small Euros at the time of going to press). I do not have the data on the price of Heineken beer in Kiev.

Then when a football match breaks out on the pitch and our team loses we can slaughter Roy Hodgson for picking completely wrong 11 idiots, as there were 11 other idiots waiting at home in bed with their friend’s wives, trying to take their minds off of not being selected.

Lets sit back and enjoy the liars of the world: Blair, Cameron, Murdoch (+1), Hunt, Wade, Coulson and the rest of them squirm their way around the questions which would and should bring down the lot of them. But they won’t. You know they won’t. Come the end of Leveson, and save for a couple of minor-ish victims and sacrifices like Brooks and Coulson, the Murdoch Empire, the Fleet St rags and the British Government will still be in place and will still operate in exactly the same way.

Some people moan about it and sites like the one you are reading make a fuss about all this shit now and then, but it doesn’t really do anything or matter in any way shape or form, does it? If it mattered, more than 32% of the country would get out and vote these crooks, thieves and tramps out of office. If it mattered there would be a day of action against arseholes like Andrew Lansley, Michael Gove and Nick Clegg EVERY WEEK, not just once every winter equinox.

So enjoy the next few months. Don’t trip over the maypole or the bunting this weekend; when the football arrives, cheer and clap and the local police, the UEFA officials and the TV cameras ignore the Zeig Heil chants and the Nazi Salutes; smirk and laugh as one-by-one cabinet minister after cabinet minister lies his way out of court; stand and salute and sympathize with the judge trying to get to the bottom of this really sordid scandal, only to be left with the head of the odd PM spin doctor, or Eton old boy to show for it;

Wash that MacDonald’s Olympic burger down with your pint of Heineken. That’ll be well worth fifteen quid of anyone’s money. But not mine. I shall be spending the odd £2.60 on a pint in The Shovel then nip across the road to the chip shop, or maybe the kebab house where I can pick up a large meal for the price of a 330ml bottle of imported Olympic lager. Then I’ll nip home to see if there’s any cricket on to watch. There’s no telly in The Shovel, so it’ll be cans of Guinness on the sofa, in front of the box for me. So keep your over-priced games, your over-hyped jubilee, and your über-alles Championship.
I’ll keep my kebab and a pint. You have your Red-White-and-Blue season. I’ll be happy with my Doner Summer.

 

You’re Going Home in a Flipping Ambulance


Our Special Correspondent writes…
.
It can’t only be me who wondered what David Cameron was punching (or was it paunching) the air about in his dress down Turnbull & Asser alongside a young,smiling Morgan Freeman and several glum Eurocrats.
 
Upon further inspection,it seems the Acropolis Co-op cheque conference came to a halt as Dave’s beloved Chelsea won on Saturday. Now,of course our Dave could hardly support any other team,could he? What with his old mate the cossack yachtsman at the helm.
 
Apparently it was during one of the time out’s that coach Obama had called that Dave, not being able to watch,even through his caviar smeared fingers,was summoned swiftly back to the lounge bar where the footie was on.
 
Yessssss!! Come on you blues. Back of ones net my son!
 
Now,I know he’s down with the people and not a toff at all really,so he – also apparently – says “we don’t normally win a penalty shoot out against the Germans at home” What!!? Who’s he talking about. In one smooth manouevre he’s slipped into jingoese. It’s now a matter of national pride.How Blighty has given Fritz some of his own medicine. Don’t mess with us.
 
Light up another lardy and stroll enigmatically round the rose garden at Chartwell.Dictate another page of the memoirs. Angela was heard to splutter a “scheissen” that didn’t need trouble the translator. Damn those pesky Tommies.That Dunkirk spirit has done it again.
 
Hold on though. This wasn’t the bloody England team.This was a ridiculously overpaid collection of disparate foreigners,who got a win bonus bigger than my (and your) pension.
 
You prat Dave.
.
David Rapley,
The Saloon Bar
The Old Mill Hotel & Lodge
Bath
Back to you in the studio