Didier Fookin’ Drogbah !

Why do we bother watching football ? Who out there hasn’t felt like this  on more than several occasions about their own team ?

Very sweary Geordie gets himself in a lather about the Toon. (Works perfectly too if you substitute the word Newcastle for Charlton). Things clearly ain’t going well for the Magpies from the Land of My Fathers (well, mothers to be precise). Made me smile on more than once, which is more than Charlton do.


Thanks Shola, but fook off !

Champion !

The Wrong Way

I had to make that call the other day. It was one of those moments which happen to me every so often when I call my current cable supplier (Virgin Vince Cable XL) and tell them I’d like to opt out of receiving Sky Sports. I was paying £50 a month for the four or five channels of sport which Rupert Murdoch pumps out every day. I watch these for approximately 2 hours-a-week, unless there is a major golf tournament of an English Test match showing. That was an ok arrangement when Rupert was paying me about 50 quid a month to work for him, but now he’s not paying me any more, the outlay of that sort of dosh for that sort of return is a no-goer.

The sort of high-class sport I'll miss

The sort of high-class sport I’ll miss

And No: I am not unaware that very soon there will be many English Test matches showing on Sky TV which I will want to see, many involving throwing things at Australians. I shall have to listen to the radio or go down the pub to watch them. Not perfect, but it does come with benefits. And no, I cannot go over to You TV’s Sky Sports Day pass as I saw the advert for this three days after agreeing a new 18 month contract with Richard Branson. He came around personally. With that Scotch Dr Who bloke.

I will, of course also miss out on the many cycling races and tournaments which ESPN show constantly (The Tour de Opium Den is on at the moment, I believe) and all the action from the WLTA which British Eurosport and ESPN thrive on. I shall not be going down to the pub to watch those. I’ll be going down to the pub, but not to watch those.

The only thing that really will be missed will be the Crime & Investigation Channel, which is the only station which The Incumbent regularly watches. So me pulling the plug means she doesn’t get to watch “Snapped: Women Who Kill” or “I Want to Stab the Fuck Out of My Husband” and the such like. I can live with that. Hopefully.

But no matter, I am (as you may have read) in a good place at the moment and as the country takes that balaclava off and takes in lung fulls of fresh spring air, what better time is there to sit yourself down in a nice dark lounge and enjoy all the wonders that TV on Demand, Tivo and Catchup TV brings you ? Having gone through the ascent of man’s struggle with recording channels from Betamax, Philips 2000 VCR, Laserdisc, and Video Plus I am finding these latest gadgets just sensational. You’ll never miss a thing !


I know this “you’ll never miss a thing”phrase has been used for 30 years now ever since the first pine-clad video recorders, about the size of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were wedged in underneath our 21 inch tellys and three of you had to push five buttons each in perfect synchronization to record The Krypton Factor Regional Finals, but this time, you really won’t miss a thing…unless the Beeb or ITV decide they’re not going to put your favourite up on Catchup cos they’re gonna repeat it at 3 o’clock in the morning on BBC Three Worldwide or ITV9.

But apart from that it is a wonderful toy. For how many years have we yearned for a gadget which replays commercial channel programmes without showing the adverts ? No more fast forwarding at the break, rushing through tv spots for Iceland, DFS, Go Compare, Muller Light and Argos, then taking your eye off it for a moment to open a packet of biscuits only to look up again and realise you’ve gone five minutes into the next section of the programme and have just caught a glimpse, albeit at x32 speed who the murderer was. You rewind quickly, not looking at the Missus who’s thinking “prat. AGAIN” but overshoot the mark in the other direction, so you give up, press play and watch the Argos advert, this time at normal speed.

Not any more though. If you can put up with waiting for a day, many an ITV murder mystery, a Channel 4 spy series or a Channel 5…er….whatever they show on that channel (pass) can be viewed without seeing an Ad at any speed. The advertisers must hate it. Poor them.

If programs clash, you can record 8 channels while watching the 9th, or so they tell me. Somehow though, we never seem  not to have to tape the BBC’s The Village. It’s a sort of Warhorse meets Schindler’s List. Does anyone have any fun at all in that place ? Christ it’s heavy going. Good, but heavy going. I sit there with The Incumbent, struggling manfully not to open up a major artery, longing all the time for the light relief of half a dozen brutal and apparently random murders in Endeavour, currently playing on the other side. But no matter, 24 hours later when on a Monday there’s nothing on TV to watch (unless you have Sky Sports and like Monday Night Football), flick over to ITV Catchup and watch young Inspector Endeavour Morse without adverts. Much better and half an hour shorter too.

But be warned. And here’s the point of writing.

Do not, under any circumstances try to play catchup with the BBC’s latest offering:
The Wright Way. If you enjoyed Love thy Neighbour, Mind Your Language or maybe Bless This House from the depths of the 1970s, then this one is for you. Otherwise, move away from the remote control. You won’t see or hear this many re-hashed jokes, knob gags or sexual stereotypes at a Bernard Manning meets Stan Boardman gig. It is jaw-droppingly bad. Worse than any Mike Bushell sports report, worse than Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox hosting The Brits. Almost in Armageddon league. Almost.

Or as  in his Guardian blog puts it:  Worse than The Life of Riley. Worse than My Family. Worse than Big Top, even, and that was a sitcom about what a circus would be like if it had Amanda Holden in it.”

or Tom Sutcliffe in the Independent : “so groan-inducing that you want to gather a mob with torches and pitchforks.”

F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-ucking Awful

F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-ucking Awful

A pal of mine went to see Alexi Sayle in concert the other night. It happened to be the day after Thatcher had died, and Alexi mused that perhaps Ben Elton had died too, seeing as the once “right on” socialist champion made his living out of trashing Mrs T but had been strangely silent over the recent passing.

“Up Yours, Mrs Fatch” you might have thought he’d say. “Ooooh Topical stuff, topical stuff”

The 1980s intellectual leader of alternative comedy. He did, of course, bring us The Young Ones and Black Adder.  But never forget he also wrote “The Thin Blue Line” — that truly shocking Police sitcom which put back Rowan Atkinson’s career several decades. The 1980s intellectual leader of alternative comedy? Well maybe. Maybe not.

Worse was to come.

No, Ben Elton wasn’t dead. He was in the study of  Right On Comrade Towers making the final flourishing touches to The Wright Way.  I am here to reiterate that is was The Wrong Way.  In the opening episodes there was a ten minute sketch involving our hero telling his lesbian (phwoarrrrr) daughter and her partner (fnarr fnarr) how to load a dishwasher properly. Later he was caught by a slow, fat, heavily-accented West Indian toilet attendant drying the fly of his trousers on the blower/dryer in the office loos. TWICE !  I can’t wait for next week when there’s a hilarious skit when he moans about the names of coffee in Starbucks, his trousers fall down for no reason and he’s caught by the vicar apparently mounting a poodle. “ooooh Topical stuff, topical stuff” as Ben might say. And, again, he’d be wrong.


Please go back to writing dreadful musicals about “Queen”

Fortunately, thanks to the few remaining channels I have left, I can switch over and watch International Horse Drug Taking from Newmarket on Channel 4. That brilliant Claire Balding’s presenting it….

Maybe I’ll just watch the adverts.



Di Can’tio Stand it Any More

The Waffen Sunderland Xi's first team photo since Paulo Di Canio (v far right) joined the squad. "Ve vos only obeying tactics"

Waffen Sunderland XI’s first team photo since manager Paulo Di Canio (v far right) joined the squad.  Said skipper Gerd “Nobby” von Rundstedt : “Ve vos only obeying half-time orders”

If I was Paulo di Canio I’d be feeling pretty hard done by. Why should he be singled out? I should imagine he was a bit peeved he hadn’t been offered the Chelsea Captaincy or the Liverpool no.7 shirt, never mind be savaged by B-Brains of I-I-International R-R-Rescue. It was undoubtably the Premiership’s laissez-faire attitude towards racism and fascism that attracted Paulo to the English game in the first place. .

But, as the man himself says, politics is politics and football is football, and they should never be mixed. Quite right too. (unless, like me you watched Escape to Victory yesterday, when that bloke Pele (from Trinidad, no less) certainly showed Anton Diffring and the other Nazis how to stick the old pig’s bladder in the back of the onion bag. And, like his new employers, Newcastle Reserves point out, it’s “insulting” to accuse Di Canio of such extreme views. If there’s any evidence to suggest otherwise, They’d like to see it.

Oh. Thank you.

Paulo Di Canio neither expressing a political view nor taking part in a football match.

Paulo Di Canio neither expressing a political view nor taking part in a football match.

Anyway, thankfully there’s plenty more to see and do with which to take one’s mind off all this fascist tomfoolery and racist high-jinks. Some of us have work to do.

Personally I am sorely tempted to stop what I’m doing and pursue a new role. It’s not that being North West Kent’s leading T-shirt designer and vendor doesn’t pay all I need to see me ok til the end of my days (provided I snuff it by Thursday week, to coin a phrase), but I feel my talents (sic) are wasted here. I feel sure I’d be more useful at New Broadcasting House, the home of the BBC now that they have well and truly put all that silly child molesting and those naughty serial serious sexual assault charges behind them.

This week’s BBC Director General (fill in name here) must be so proud that he’s taken hold of the reins in the week that the Great British Sewing Bee reaches our screens: A show which pits sewer vrs stitcher in a tense battle to see who can make the prettiest frock or cushion cover. This ‘Darn-off against the clock’ tugs smartly at the coat tails (see what I did there ?) of the previous hit “The Great British Bake Off” in which old women an effeminate men cooked scones at each other. You could have cut the tension with a dessert spoon.

So I have spent the morning compiling some ideas which would exploit and cash-in continue the success of the Sewing Bee with a contest to find our most productive pollenator: “The Great British Bee Bee“; best Robin Gibb impersonator: “The Great British Bee Gee Bee“; or most nervous performer “The Great British Hee Bee Gee Bees Bee“.

We need some more shows which capture the excitement and tension of the Bake Off. How about a head-to-head hand-bag forgery contest in “The Great British Knock-off“; an inter-county incontinence competition, “The Great British Piss Off“; or the hunt to find the best beer & wine shop : “The Great British Offie Off“.

"Celebrities" star in The Great British Wanna Be Bee

“Celebrities” star in The Great British Wanna Be Bee. Answers on a postcard, please. (clue: the bloke on the right is a woman, and vice versa)

Enough now. I’m off to take part in a pro-celebrity masturbating competition, entitled, “The Great British Toss Off”.

There’s a short series there, somewhere. Very short.


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.

In Case Anyone Ever Doubted It

The image inside the Liverpool FC fanzine which caused Police to confiscate them before the Man Utd match today.

Tells you all you need to know about a bunch who shout “foul” if anything goes against them, on or off the pitch.  The scouser portrays himself as the put-upon underdog, and as a champion of the little guy.

Just as long as the little guy is white, I guess.

A Bad Taste in the Mouth

Advanced warning to my friend who said she read and enjoyed my blog, “but not the boring sports stuff”. Please feel free to scroll down to the next post, it’s all about music.


Don’t you think it would have been better if, when Tom Williams went into that Clapham Common joke shop, he would have gone the whole hog? For those not-in-the-know, Williams plays for Harlequins Rugby Football Club and is the centre of a scandal having been found to have bitten on a joke shop blood capsule, thus faking a blood injury so he could be substituted. I’d have loved to have seen him emerge from the bottom of the ruck with a fake arrow through his head and one of those rubber nails though his thumb. If you’re gonna feign injury, have a bit of style about it.


I know of a club in Wales who used to have a one-legged bloke in their Vets team. He’d play on the wing wearing his plastic leg and, at the pace that over-35’s rugby is played at, got along just fine. On one occasion, with the opposing team’s consent and cooperation he removed his artificial limb whilst he was laying at the bottom of a pile of players, and a team-mate stuffed raw liver into the now-empty leg of his shorts. The play stopped, the scrum of players untangled and broke up, leaving this bloke on the floor, screaming in mock-agony. The only guy on the pitch who wasn’t in on the joke was the referee, who duly fainted. Now THAT’S style.

The most worrying thing about the Tom Williams affair, or Bloodgate as the press are calling it, is the complete lack of shock or surprise shown by anyone in world rugby. Apparently feigning a blood-injury is commonplace and what are we all bleating about? Tales of England physios opening up stitches on a player’s old wound soo he could come off the pitch for a fresher player, teams smashing blood capsules into their scalps have filled the sports pages this week. Has it come to this? I listened to a rather gleeful soccer pundit on the radio who was beside himself that at last, the smug holier-than-thou rugger-buggers had finally been exposed for what all footy fans had thought for eons: that they were as corrupt and dishonest as anyone involved in the round-ball code. It’s difficult to argue against. How can we watch the Six Nations Championship this year and believe any injury we see, short of decapitation? I have a feeling I may not bother.

So where does the sports fan turn to for clean, unsullied, cheat-free fun? Cricket? Remember Hanse Cronje, the bookies runner? Mike Atherton’s dirty pocket; or any number of Pakistani indiscretions on and off the pitch? Nope that’s out. How about Track and Field? For every Usain Bolt or Paula Radcliffe, there’s a Ben Johnson or a Dwayne Chambers waiting to happen. Horse Racing? (Keiron Fallon); Baseball? (Barry Bonds) Cycling? don’t even go there.


There is always soccer, I suppose? I mean it. Perhaps that’s the one I should watch because at kick-off no-one should be under the slightest illusion that any of the 22 men on display has any intention of playing within the rules if he can possibly get away with it. It is a game based on cheating, on conning the referee, on maiming the opposition, on getting fellow professionals sent off the field of play. It makes good tv and the authorities not only applaud it, condone it, they actually encourage it. They must do. How else could it carry on like this if UEFA or FIFA or the FA or whoever did not support this rotten, murky, corrupt shambolic excuse for a game of sport?

Arsene Wenger is fuming that his player Eduardo may be punished for diving in the penalty area and thereby conning the ref into awarding a penalty. YOU BET HE’S FUMING. Every single player dives given the slightest opportunity to obtain a free-kick or a penalty, or to get an opposing player sent off or booked. So why has Eduardo been singled out for punishment? Have the authorities finally had enough of this integral part of the game? Of course not. Sadly for the Croatian, he’s so bad at diving, it was such an obvious cheat that even UEFA can’t turn a blind eye to it. They have to go through the motions of being seen to do the right thing. If they were serious about stopping the cheats they’d have shut down Seria A, La Liga and the Premier League years ago. Lee Bowyer, Drogba, Klinsmann and the rest of them down the years would long be behind bars, or at least have been banned from the game after their first match.


So I have no sympathy when a mate moans that his team “was robbed” through a penalty-that-never-was, or because the full-back should have never been sent off for a foul that didn’t happen. Sod them all. All of them are cheats. All of them, and as long as you go to a game knowing that, football is almost an enjoyable game. The score doesn’t matter, just watch the play-acting, or the acts of violence that pass for a sporting past-time. It doesn’t matter who wins or loses or how, just sit back and watch the show and see if you can spot the young lad, new to the game, who hasn’t quite got it yet, trying to play them game as written in the rule book. Fret not for him, he’ll come around in the end. In seasons to come he’ll be rolling around the penalty area, screaming for the magic sponge after being felled by an invisible foot. They’ll probably make him England captain of he’s convincing enough.

Of course that sort of thing doesn’t happen at Charlton. That’s five wins in a row, by the way. It’s a beautiful game.