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Sunday, January 31, 2010


sport is an amazing thing: it brings out the best and the worst in people. it unites and divides. sport can make you happy or it can leave you sad. it can have you on the edge of your seat or bore the tits off you. sport is filled with heroes and villains, winners and losers.
in short sport is a metaphor for life.

as i have gotten older my interest in sport has become more and more academic. i no longer understand the passion it brings out in people (though i will readily confess to welling up during sports movies). i now listen to the results of my favourite team and go ‘yay’ or ‘boo’ and then move on to whatever else i was doing. though i still get a little antsy when the english rugby union team takes to the field to play, and i let out a ‘coooooome on you booooys’ in hope that my voice of encouragement will help them win.

from the vantage point of the cynic it is easy to see where sport has gone wrong: money. the more popular the sport the more money there is in it (fishing doesn’t count – it is as much as a sport as train spotting is), the more money there is the bigger the amount of wankers who are involved.
you only have to look at formula 1 to see proof of that. lots of cars just going around and around and around and around. drivers claiming it is their skills that are paramount when really it is the technology that is in the car that really matters. save the environment and just have them race scalextric cars – it would be just as exciting and a lot cheaper to do.
or look at football where players can get paid enormous sums of money and then complain that they are asked to work too hard (yeah a couple of games a week and some training sessions… get real). or the fans of football who want their clubs to spend more money than is sensible but will complain the moment there is financial trouble with the club.

yet sport has shown itself to be a universal language, one that can bring us all together – such as when the world watched and gasped at the performances of usain bolt and michael phelps. we follow global sports stars such as david beckham, roger federer, tiger woods. sport has brought countries together – such as south africa, when the springboks won the rugby world cup.
yes sport has much to commend it.

sport’s change to a leading powerhouse financial brand, with global sponsorship, super rich performers, international support and reach has taken place in a world that is a lot less ordered than previously. now sport and politics don’t just mix they go hand in hand. sport is now a legitimate target for terrorists – financial and political. on the one hand you have businessmen getting involved in sport because they see it as a way to make a lot of money – they have no love for the sport as such, just what they can get from it. on the other hand you have political terrorists (or freedom fighters depending on where you stand) that will now attack sportsmen because they will create the shock and awe that the modern terrorist wants.

most recently we saw that with the africa cup of nations when the togo team bus came under attack, with the result that two of the party were killed. unsurprisingly the togo government withdrew their team from the tournament. at the time there was much sympathy directed at the togo team.

now it seems that the reward for being shot at and having members of the their delegation killed is that they are being banned from the next two africa cup of nations tournaments. seems perfectly reasonable to me, in a warped and twisted way. the confederation of african football has chosen a letter of the law type approach – something to do with state interference in sport meaning that the team has to be banned. of course what should have happened was that togo be allowed to play in the tournament because anyone with half a mind could see why they withdrew.
commonsense is something that sports administrators seem to lack.
one would have expected fifa to pop up and say something but i guess joseph s blatter was more concerned with women’s football wearing tighter tops than to point out to one of the affiliated organizations that it was making a bit of a tit of itself by a totally stupid ban.
blatter, like the rest of the world, must be hoping that the 2010 world cup in south africa is like the 1995 rugby world cup there – successful and with a feel good story for africa.

that is the other thing about sport – it encourages you to live in hope.

Friday, January 29, 2010


there i was in my favourite coffee shop.
i was supping a nice strong latte and reading. mainly minding my own business. if there is a problem with the coffee shop it is a place where lots of trendy people go to hang out and let everyone else know that they are hip and trendy. it is not enough to be there showing off, you have to be loud so people can hear you being hip and trendy.

so i am sipping coffee.

couple of tables down from me a couple are chatting. well he is doing the talking she is just providing the audience as he does his one man show.
there were a few things that made me rankle (and in my defense i wasn't earwigging the conversation, just that the volume of it was such that you couldn't ignore it) with my usual disdain of youth who believe that the world owes them a shot at fame just because they think they are good.
but he dropped a gem.
"what is it with lady gaga? i don't get it. who likes her? she can't sing, she can't dance, she wears big pants. sure she writes her own songs, but they are shit!"

can't say i disagree with him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


iwant (see what idid there - and there) the apple ipad.
iknow (see doing it again) that in saying that iam (call it a style thing) marking myself out as an apple junkie, but idon't (icould be in marketing) care.
call me shallow, but the ipad looks very very cool.

(and at some point apple will make a piece of tech and they will just call it the iwant and it won't have to do anything more than be sexy because what it does will be in the title - it's sole purpose will be to an object of deisre...)

(also it can't be long before apple launch a line of perfumes - the ismell line. mmm hold that don't sound right, maybe the ismellsweet line. there will be the clothing range - the idress. crikey steve jobs give me a job i have extended the brand into totally new ranges.)

(mmm perhaps i should do this for a living - i could be ipat.)


did you know that there was a time when there was no violent crime, no rapes, no binge drinking, no robbery, no riots, no single parents or no divorce? a time when all the police did was rescue kittens from trees and tell people the time (even if they didn’t want to know) and the workers doffed their caps to their betters.
i know i know it is hard to believe that such a time ever existed, but it did.
i know it did because david cameron has told me so. this golden age occurred under the conservative government of margaret thatcher.

moving on from his ‘broken britain’ idea cameron now talks about ‘social recession’ where all the ills of british society are laid at the feet of gordon brown.
the solution to this new version of ‘broken britain’ seems to be as simple as the cause: tax breaks for married couples. a neat packaging of several key favourite themes of the tories: tax cutting, traditional family life, crime and morality. (so much for the new conservatives.)

now i may be cynical but the ‘social recession’ catch phrase (not as good as ‘i love it when a plan comes together’) saw the light of day at the same time the sentences were being passed on the two boys involved in the edlington torture case. cameron was quick to use this case for political gain and to blame the labour government for the decline of social order.
while lip service was paid to the extreme rarity of such cases the implication was clear: under labour the country is going to hell in a handcart. to save the country we need the fresh, morally correct conservative party (led by david (i may or may not have been involved with drugs at college) cameron) to lead us to the faintly remembered time when the only person who came into your house unannounced was the tooth fairy.

in some ways cameron’s morality attack is an echo of gordon brown’s ‘toffs’ strategy. the difference being that when cameron is attacking binge drinking or divorce we all know he doesn’t mean us – he means those poor people over there. when the right wing press go on about how the young are easily influenced by images of sex and violence they don’t mean the children of their readers – they mean those poor people over there.
after all when prince harry and his set get pissed it is all a jolly jape. while the antics of amy winehouse or peaches geldof may cause some newspapers to complain about their conduct they also know that they sell their papers, and of course there is no chance that their responsible reporting of these people will influence anyone.

the idea of broken britain that is in a social recession is a strong one, but it is not an honest one. it is just a crude way for cameron to tell his core support that he really is one of them and that when he gets into power it will be conservative business as normal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


been ignoring this for too long.
this is about to change (well that is the plan).
new dawn and all that sort of thing.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


there i am in my favourite coffee shop.
it is christmas day.
most of the punters there are just happy to have somewhere to escape from the christmas festivities.
italian woman serving up the lovely hits of strong coffee.
young middle-class couple, media types, recently moved into the area. they are pleased to have found the coffee shop as they used to drink at the other one in brick lane. they remember the woman from years ago. they chat a little.
they leave.
bloke comes back.
bloke: do you have any spare cloves?
woman: yes i have spare clothes.
b: can i have some?
w: they won’t be your size..
b: (laughter) no cloves, i want to make mulled wine.
w: (laughter) ooh no, we don’t have any cloves.
b: that is a shame, i have the oranges and cinnamon, just don’t have the cloves.
w: cinnamon is good, we have some of that.
b: no i am fine for cinnamon, it is the cloves we don’t have. i suppose i could make it without the cloves. do you think that would be ok? just oranges and cinnamon?
w: sounds good. should be fine.
(all seems to be resolved, both seem pleased with the outcome.)
b: how do you make mulled wine?

did he find out how to make mulled wine? i have no idea?
are cloves essential? who knows?
it did make me smile.

Friday, January 01, 2010


happy binary day.


welcome to the new year.
the new new.
a time of changes.
a time of choices.
a time of challenges.

a little like michael owen i am approaching 2010 with hope (though i have more chance of playing for england than he does).

the new decade is filled with possibilities. opportunities. all that is needed is the will, the desire, the dedication and the drive to go for it, to push through the pain barrier, to go the extra mile. blah blah.

who the fuck am i kidding. it will be the same as last year but with a big chance that the tories will be in power.

the tories in power - lawks that is a depressing thought with which to start the new year.