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Sport

Some observations of foreign types in crowds

There was some strange behaviour outside my hotel this evening, instead of the usual languid European-style pavement restaurant with a few, mainly elderly residents enjoying their café under an iridescent evening sun as a few blonde haired goddesses drift by aimlessly on bicycles, there was a massed throng of unruly teens and drunken men filling the square in front of my hotel.

I presumed that it was some form of political protest as they were uniformly dressed alike, but apparently not, it was in fact an opportunity to get utterly paralytic on Heineken served in plastic cups while watching a giant TV screen erected at the end of the not-so-very-grand place. I initially presumed they were there to watch the local version of “America’s Next One Hit Wonder” or whatever it is called in The Land of Clogs.

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World Cup Quote So Far…

From St. Glenn of the Hockle on the BBC upon the occasion of Mexico beating Cameroon 1-0…

“Cameroon looked like they were playing in chains”.

Given Hoddle’s previous the mere fact the BBC felt the need to employ him now is astonishing.

Just look up his opinions on the disabled, faith healers and of course “Diamond Lights”. That and the fact he tended to play Anderton. And won fuck all.

The end of the footie…

Well, I had my Dad on the phone… He’s a Liverpool fan and was gutted they were pipped by Man City. Well, they finished second and in the final game they had they beat my team (NUFC) 2-1 at home. Now, if Stevie G hadn’t fallen over a bit back in a “schoolboy error” (I quote St Alan of Hansen) then… Anyway, more to the point we wouldn’t be in this position (10th) if (a) Alan Pardew (the manager) didn’t feel the need to chin people on the field and (b) our long-playing striker Shola Ameobi didn’t, in the final game of the season, with nothing of substance to play for, (against Liverpool at Anfield) feel the need (why Shola? why?) to call the ref a, “Fat Dwarf Mong!” and get sent off for his trouble. Possibly his last game for the club. He is out of contract now. Way to go! I mean he could have lapped it up as a fine player and servant of the club in the centre circle and then been lamped by Pardew as the confetti fell.

So, my Dad was complaining about finishing second and not having won for donks. Well, fair enough up to a point. It was the 1920s when the Toon Army last won the Championship. It was 1969 when we last grabbed silver-wear (Fairs Cup) and I was born in 1973. Anyway, we have that “Hazard Blunt” Mike Ashley conning the ship and Pardew running the team.

Being a Newcastle fan is an act of self-harm. We got beaten by the fucking Mackems 3-0 at St James’ Park this season. Have you ever been to Sunderland? Jesus Christ on a bicycle! They haven’t invented the fucking wheel in Mackemshire! If Hull is the land where dreams go to die Sunderland is where nightmares kick the bucket. Just don’t go. And we got beaten by them, 3-0, at home. And then there is Peterlee (a town where there is something gynaecological wrong if you’re not pumping out numero 3 by your 15th birthday. And Blythe, or Consett… Or even Tynemouth. On the headland there is a beautiful ruined abbey. The Vikings did a number on it but that had nothing too North Tyneside Council who built a coast guard station next to it. Built in the ’70s. It looks grand.

The quantity of destruction of architecture done deliberately by councils is stunning. They have got better but some things aren’t re-jiggable.

Horror Footie

Full disclosure – I’m a lifelong Newcastle United fan.

Yeah, it’s quite the cross to bear. But this is not partisan. Football is about two things that are not mutually exclusive. It is of course a sport, a game, a pastime… That is my eperience from “jumpers for goal-posts” kick abouts in parks (I was a reasonable attacking right-back in my day) to playing at the exalted heights of Leeds University Maths IV (yes, the Ivy League beckoned!*). I can honestly say whilst there were thrills, spills and bellyaches (though the later was mainly from the post match pint and kebab) I never saw anything nasty. Sport is not war and the conflation of metaphors between the two upsets me greatly. It is almost impossible to watch a major sporting contest and for the commentators not to resort to martial language. And of course warfare is frequently (this might be a British thing) described in sporting terms. I think it horrid. Football is a thing of joy and fun to be endlessly replayed (and embellished) in the pub -”Remember when I went past the left-back with a Cruyff turn and laid it to rest in the top-corner of the onion bag.

But it is also (as I hinted) about something else. It is about big business. It matters in that sense too. Did you see that goal that wasn’t given in the Edinburgh Derby?. Stevie Wonder would have known that was over the line. Well over.

Now the thing is Nick and his mates having a kick-about is one thing because apart from faux-immortality at the boozer afterwards it doesn’t matter. It’s fun in the park and the big-money transfer from Leeds Maths IV to Real Madrid isn’t likely to happen and nor does a sponsorship deal from Samung hinge on the performance or anything of that kidney. But arguably in the professional game such matters matter more because of things like this. Haidara will be out for months and maybe that is his career over – at 20. No card was shown, not even a free-kick (not that Haidara was in any fit state to take one). That is not on and it happens because football unlike almost every other sport played at the highest levels such as Rugby, Tennis and even Cricket has embraced technology. Goal-line, touch-line, LBW, video replay and all that are mature technologies that work. Quite why the biggest sport on the planet is averse is beyond me. But then after Brazil the next two World Cups are in the noted footballing nations Quatar and Russia. I assume because FIFA’s Mr Slack Bladder got an oil well and a diamond mine on the deal.

Dave Whelan – the chairman of Wigan Athletic defended his player Callum McManaman on the basis that the ref was 15 yards away and saw nothing. Quite quantum of him. He wasn’t saying it didn’t happen, but that the ref didn’t see it which is not quite the same thing. I am currently in negotiations with Mr Whelan when the transfer window re-opens over a cat in a box. By all accounts the vision of the ref was blocked by another Newcastle player. You simply cannot have professional football with enormous stakes (look what happened to Rangers recently) conducted in such a half-arsed and frankly amateurish manner. Yes sportsmanship matters and from the local park to Old Trafford it still matters but even if I romanticise “Jumpers for goal posts” the pro game which millions watch and care about and millions of monies and the very career of a young man is one horrendous tackle away from disaster should use the tools pioneered in other sports to keep it straight. They can well afford it.

Football can be conducted in a good-natured spirit of fair-play. But at the top of the tree that is not enough.

*For some reason Leeds Maths had a lot of Romanians – mainly called Radu – “Nick, Pass to Radu!” is not helpful advice from our captain when you have three Radus. Good players and good lads, mind.

The World is Mad!

I just heard Cherie Blair is to be made a CBE for “Services to Charity” and “Women’s Issues”. Now to be fair to Ms Booth she has advanced the position dramatically of at least one woman. Or perhaps she ought to have got it for “Services to Drama” for she (a) owns the world’s largest dressing-up box and (b) she is the real Lady Macbeth.

On the other hand I was vaguely amused that, as the BBC put it, Sarah Storey (our local heroine*) has been “Made a Dame” which makes her sound like some sort of transgendered gangster. Her hubby, the similarly gold-winning, Barney got nowt which is fair enough because he almost totaled me on his bike recently.

*I posted all my Crimble cards into her golden slot.

Tomorrow belongs to Boris

Who let’s be fair he is hardly an Adonis. But then neither is Lord Adonis. He sounds like a wrestler or porn star. He looks like this. The only six pack he ever got was from the offie.

But moves are afoot to expand school sports after the storming successes of Team GB*. Sorry I can’t buy it. Surely the success of the likes of Hoy and Ennis and all the rest is enough to promote sport in this country or indeed that sport is doing rather well anyway. It ‘s just more pointless and somewhat sinister meddling.

In a book by the military historian John Keegan (I forget which book) he writes movingly of the pals units of the Great War. And how they were recruited. Obviously the slaughter of the Somme and all the other battles is tragic enough but there is another point – Britain was shot through with societies and clubs and all manner of voluntary organisations. Obviously this included huge numbers of sporting clubs. That’s where the pals came from. Outside the Royal Academy in London there is a memorial to the London Artists’ Rifles for example. Sport and much else flourished without the state.

With the state it is the grim ordeal of PE lessons. I recall them well. I hated rugby for a very simple reason. At no point did a PE teacher ever explain the outline of the game or why were doing this or that. Being from the North East which is very much a football area (soccer for American readers) I was clueless. Then in the summer there was a round-robin of athletics. Utterly pointless. Since I haven’t been conscripted into sport I enjoy it much more. And I am far from alone here. There was a study out recently that showed a majority of girls hated school PE. Annecdotally I’d say that probably applies to boys as well. So essentially enforced physical jerks is actually counter productive. And yet now we shall have more for the glory of the nation! On a not dissimilar note I wonder how many army officers want to bring-back national service?

This ought to be the strategy for Britain’s continued success at sport. The government gets out of the game. A start might be a change to the CRB rules which assume you are a paedophile until proven otherwise. Then you’ll get the volunteers. That’s a start that would cost less than zero.

*Am I the only one who hates that term?

Pic of the Day.

Taking on the world and winning: Mo Farah crosses the line to win the 10,000m

 

No wonder he ran so fast! Isn’t that Tony Blair coming up behind him? Smile

Men’s Rings.

I might have a puerile Viz educated sense of humour but…

The current Google Doodle is in honour of “London 2012 Men’s Rings”.

Jus’ sayin’.

Beach Volleyball

I used to play volleyball at school and was noted for having a JDAM of a serve.

I liked it because it was mixed PE and that meant there were girls. Obviously this was preferable to always being second-row in the Rugby scrum. I watched some of the beach volleyball last night – GB v the Canadians.

From the commentary…

“The British pair”

“Can she take it all the way?”

“That was an idle toss”

And during technical breaks they are playing the “Benny Hill” theme tune.

Beach volleyball is a travesty. This is a sport that doesn’t need to exist at Olympic level. They have volleyball nets on beaches across the globe anyway (obviously not Shoddy Absurdia or Whitley Bay) so if you want to watch “girls in their summer clothes” you can for free and without the UK tax-payer* footing the bill. Because from what I saw this is a “jumpers for goal-posts” sport. It just doesn’t shift at the rate of court volleyball because it is played on sand. It’s only porpoise is to satisfy the dirty old men of the IOC (the players hugged and patted each other’s bottoms after each point). It was like lesbian porn as imagined by The Pope. Now if you really want genuinely lesbian porn it is freely (or for a small fee) available via the internet from various commercial operations and not the tax-payer.

And more to the point this state-funded hot lezza action was extremely tame and featured girls with almost no tits whatsoever (and the blonde Brit was a right hound). Stomachs you could crack walnuts on but no jiggle on the jump which it would appear to be like what they were aiming for.

So basically they duplicated an Olympic event in a facile attempt to create sex-appeal and created at vast pubic [not an sp] expense out of something that isn’t especially sporting and isn’t especially sexy.

Right. I’m now off to embuggerate Beth Tweddle in five unusual positions. Because if we are to be forced to pay for very soft-core Frankie Vaughn (my local newsagent sells much harder-core stuff – with like tits and muff – and he and his wife are Muslims – Oh and they also contribute to rather than take from the economy) then I want my money’s worth! I guess what I’m saying is the IOC et. al’s attempt at “sexing it up” is expensive, pointless and dismal.

*Not strictly true as such. This was not paid for from tax already raised but on tick. Forever and ever Amen! There will be a legacy alright. It’ll be like inheriting your great uncle’s gambling debts.

Update: Great minds seem to think alike.

Hell’s Bells!

RING IN THE OLYMPICS! Aunique bell-ringing event will soon be taking place nationwide.

Martin Reed, the Turner-prize-winning artist and musician was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad to create a piece to welcome the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Work No.1197. All the bells in the country rung as quickly and loudly as possible” by Martin, a former attender at Glasgow Meeting, will be performed throughout the UK on Friday 27 July, between 8.12am and 8.15am.

Thousands of people are expected to take part. John [?] Creed wrote to Eye to say “BBC Radio 2 and BBC TV is including it in their programmes. Groups and institutions have organised special bell ringing events throughout the UK, which you can join or just ring your own bell[-end?], whether travelling to work on a bike [but not in the Zil lanes obviously otherwise you are alerting yourself to Lord Coe's Strength through Joy STASI and you will be taken out with a Rapier missile], a doorbell.

- From “The Friend” (The Quaker paper) 27/7/12 edition.

Check out the web site. This actually happened. Our local campanologists enthusiastically but tunelessly went absolutely fucking mental (a technical psychiatric term at 8am and didn’t stop ’till 8-20am. It was as if the bastarding Wehrmacht had landed. This country has gone the totally twatting bonkers. How much are we pissing-up the wall on this farce? How much did they pay Creed for this storming musical composition? I mean Elgar it ain’t is it. And the BBC was tenting it’s collective y-fronts about this. They showed everyone joining in apart from grinches like me. Including a baby with bells on it’s teething-ring. The baby was wearing a “Team GB” T-shirt as well. I found that almost as sinister as the labrador guide-dog with a Union Flag neckerchief ringing it’s little bell. Maybe it’s appropriate after all because it seems to me that we have fallen to a sort of National Socialism conceived by Fred Carno’s frigging circus. I am being unfair to the great impresario there.

Frankly I’m beginning to get really annoyed at this utter travesty. Can we coat Seb Coe in treacle and release the honey badgers? See if he can still run a four minute mile. We are spending a bloody fortune we don’t have to make this country into an international laughing stock.

ZIL lanes in London.

Here’s an interesting point. The Soviet ZIL lanes allowed emergency services such as the fire brigade and ambulances and such to use them. This is not the case for London. Oh, no… There was a bloke on the BBC News who runs a medical products delivery business. He reckons his van drivers won’t be able to deliver. Then there is the boss of the Licensed Cab Drivers Association saying this nonsense is costing his members serious money and there was a florist who was seriously inconvenienced and a plumber just knocking off for the duration…. Great! Really helping the economy that is.

Push-me Pull-me justice

If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, it is clear how the elite see the rest of us.  We are little more than farm yard animals to be cajoled and compelled and banned from doing things, lectured and hectored at will, and above all taxed.  We maybe shot if it suits the government as poor old John Charles De Menezes found out, or slung in jail as any number are now finding out for speaking words the government don’t like, and above all we are to be frightened by bogey men.  Mencken once said “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

 

And thus the whole security theatre at airports (which I will take a bit more seriously when I see Obama’s daughters being abused by the TSA or Cameron being subject to a body search ~ hey who has killed more people after all?).  Terror threat?  For someone who grew up in the 1970’s when the IRA were planting actual bombs regularly, it’s hard to take this seriously.

 

But you might have hoped for some kind of intellectual consistency, if not from politicians then at least from the judiciary.

 

But in one of the most convoluted and tortured contradictions ever to vomit forth from a British courtroom, the residents who weren’t thrilled with having anti-aircraft missiles on their roofs (and from what I can make out, out there without permission, notice or compensation of any kind) have lost their case against the deployment. 

 

A judge ruled the Ministry of Defence was legally entitled to decide there was “no credible threat” and the siting of the missiles was both “legitimate and proportionate” because of the “unprecedented” circumstances of the Games.

 

Yep, you read that right, there is no credible threat and it is so severe that we need to put missiles on your roof. 

 

One of the residents has caught on, he said the clear implication of the judgment was that “the MoD now has power to militarise the private homes of any person” even when there was no war on, or state of emergency declared.

 

Yep.  Free speech is gone, the right to own handguns long gone, self-defence, forget it, wer are taxed* and regulated to death, albeit inconvenient regulations are done away with for the elite**.  Now property rights are crushed at the whim of the state because they find it convenient.

 

The Romans used to say Fiat ‘justitia ruat caelum’’ meaning “let justice be done though the heavens fall”  Not anymore. 

 

* Not for the elite obviously, for you.  They pay 8% tax on the money they extract from you at the point of a gun, while they make you pay 45%.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/331884?tw_p=twt

                                                                                                    

** I’ve read, (but cannot find a link) that some of the speed bumps in the Zill lanes are being removed, does anyone know if this is correct?

Two World Wars and One World Cup (and the Americans).

This is a gem of idocy from Walter Ellis of the Telegraph…

Most of the world, China now included, views football as the number one team game. You had only to turn on your television or pick up a newspaper in England’s final days in Euro 2012 to realise that, for the English, beating the Germans at Wembley in 1966 was at least as important as beating them at El Alamein in 1942.

Generations of Brits have grown up with only the haziest notion of who the heroes of the Second World War might have been. But they know who made the grade in 1966[...]

So, basically, a Russian* linesman and some footballers are of greater macrohistorical importance than Monty and the 8th Army… Well, it’s a new take I guess. I suspect it ought to be on Michael Gove’s new O-Levels or something. Or maybe taught at Sandhurst. Along with penalty kicks. Perhaps we ought to challenge the Taliban to a game of footie? I mean they are honourable men (so The Khazi thinks) and shall surely abide by the result. we could even use that same stadium they used to hang people from the goal posts! Home fixture for them – they can’t complain – but no IEDs around their penalty box – that would not be sporting!

I despise with every fibre of my being any attempts to equate sport and war. This was the nadir of course…

And they, “Think it’s all over…” The British press clearly don’t – still. Perhaps the fact that too many people here regard a football match as morally equivalent to a battle (and a battle long ago) is why we have done so badly at footie for so many years. Either that or we field a collection of over-paid prima-donnas who aren’t that good really. Yeah, that might be it too.

The gist of the article though is about sport in the USA and suggests an insularity about sporting attitudes in the USA which is just not true and an insularity about Mr Ellis which is true. Basketball is a truly global sport, baseball widely played. Ellis skates over ice-hockey because I think even he knows it can hardly be seen as a US only game. I mean has he ever spoken to, say, a Russian of Finn or Canadian? He has silly things to say about golf, tennis and motor-racing as well. He ignores things like the gee-gees and swimming, running, jumping and chucking stuff in order embarrassing his own incorrect thesis.

Ellis is basically talking utter rot and nasty rot at that. He claims football is more important than titanic battles and gets snidey about the “fatness” of baseball players as well as strongly implying US xenophobia. Oh, he’s pulling all the Little Englander levers isn’t he? Is it just me or is The Telegraph really going into a death-spiral locked in mortal struggle with The Mail for the most Blimpish of Middle England?

And to write that a couple of days before The Queen unveils the RAF Bomber Command memorial is unforgivable. Ellis and his masters at The Telegraph ought to be utterly ashamed of themselves.

*Actually an Azeri.

UEFA 2012

I am watching the whatever that is the Czech Republic against Russia. I missed the Polish-Greek 1-1 draw. I shall never forgive myself.

The Czechs are 2-0 down at half time and Roy (stick it up his bollocks) Keane recently opined that the Czechs just need to “hoof it up to the six-yard area and hope for a 50/50″. Now Keane is Irish but has played all his professional football in England and I would say that moronic sentiment is everything wrong with English football.

Jessica Ennis is fat.

This is Jessica Ennis…

Obviously, I think you will all agree she is a right bloater. Unlike this kid, obviously, for whom a trip to hospital required structural engineering…

My personal take is, well, personal. Last night, after my wife had gone to sleep I watched Springer and he had two lasses fighting over a bloke (obviously a no-good-nic: I only slept with your sister because…) and one was very skinny and missing teeth and roughly twenty years older than her birth certificate suggested as you’d expect crystal-meth to do to someone and the other was grotesquely fat. The chunkster stripped to her bra (made by Zeppelin) and her panties (Harland and Wolff) and Jerry looked ashamed for once. And well, so he should. The spectacle was seismic. Now I like curves on a woman as much as the next man but there is curves and there is tectonics. Now I am not casting nasturtiums or anything but this “lady” ought never to be allowed anywhere near Japanese nuclear stations.

So, I guess, World-class dreadfulness. But back to Ms Ennis. Who precisely released this nonce? Last weekend I watched in Manchester the female pole-vault. Now obviously athletes look athletic. These did. They were World Class and all. I am glad I saw that because I’ve always thought it about the most deranged thing imaginable. I mean how do you start to pole-vault?

I suspect it is obscurely related to US birtherism over Obama. In much the same way Obama supporters saw last time around that birtherism hit the Republicans harder (by showing-up they had a stock of mentalists and it utterly detracted from the real issues) Ennis supporters are doing the same thing. I know. I know.

But is the victory of Jessica Ennis less important than that of Mitt Romney? Not to me it isn’t (though I know who I’d rather shag – and no Mitt it really isn’t you). The footie season is over so the hell with it all! Well, there is the European Cup in Poland and the Ukraine. Wayne Rooney is visiting Auschwitz so what could possibly go wrong? But stuff that! If Roy Hodgson gets us out of the group stage I shall eat underwear. Obviously not the underwear of the lass the paramedics had to demolish a house to get at. That would be above and beyond. I mean you could bring a C-130 to a prompt stop with her gusset.

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