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Another paradoxical weekend

 

 

The last twenty four hours have been a slight juxtaposition. Last night (Friday 6th) I had the pleasure to watch AFC Bournemouth beat Fulham, at Fulham. This had a slightly pleasant feel to it. Firstly it was the first time I’d been to Craven Cottage. In nine years of living in London I am slightly ashamed at this, but I think my experience, and the result make up for this appalling statistic. The second reason was that over Christmas I went to the Boxing Day game, and good old Bomo beat Fulham 2-0. During this game Fulham had a bite to them and, at times, looked like inflicting serious damage to Bournemouth’s defence. Since then Fulham have sunk to just above relegation. Considering last season they were relegated from the Premier League, their current position shows how much is wrong with this once great club. The third and final reason why last night’s game was so satisfying was a few weeks ago I saw a good Brentford, and a bad referee deny Bournemouth any points in a miserable afternoon at Griffin Park.

 

 

Last night’s match started brightly. Fulham looked down but not out from the kick off. It wasn’t until the half hour mark that Bournemouth could make a dent in Fulham’s defence. Bret Pitman was the scorer and yes Pitness levels were raised. Seven minutes later Matt Ritchie made it 2-0. Then it was half time. The second half started brightly and just after an hour Bournemouth were 3-0 up. They were cruising. Then the inevitable happened. They got slack and complacent and Fulham got one back. 3-1. Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta got sent off at 69 minutes for a rash challenge. The thought of a comeback was short lived as Ritchie scored again on 71 minutes. At this point Fulham’s fans, weary of a season which many had predicted promotion would be a formality, started to leave the ground. In droves. However the game was not over. Six minutes from time Steve Cook scored possibly the goal of the night. To make it 5-1. Being a humble and gracious fan the travelling away arm shouted “WE WANT SIX!” repeatedly until the fulltime whistle was blown. What a night to remember!!! What’s more Bournemouth were top of the league. They have scored more goals this season than any other team in Britain, and most of Europe.

 

 

After a night like that, how would you spend the following day? Reminiscing the events in their sepia tone? Staying slightly horizontal due to a slight hangover? Having a kick-a-bout in the park and trying to recreate the goals? Going to the local pub for a couple of pints in the glorious 17 degree Sun, then eating bread, cheese and an artisan porkpie? No, although they do sound great. Instead I took part in a march through central London with the Tibet Society, Free Tibet Students for a Free Tibet and Tibetan Community in Britain. It was to commemorate 56 years since the Tibetan National Uprising. The march took just over an hour to travel from Downing Street to Portland Place (just above Oxford Street). The end destination was the Chinese Embassy. As the weather was glorious it was a pleasant stroll through London waving banners and chanting call and response style protests. Like a lot of people of my age, the Tibetan problem was brought to our attention by the Beastie Boys. I remember reading a wonderful interview Adam “MCA” Yauch had with the Dali Lama. Then there were the Free Tibet concerts and albums. Sadly with MCA’s passing in 2012 one of the cause’s loudest voices was lost, but millions now know about Tibet’s plight and thousands have taken up this fight. As predicted the march went off without a hitch and everybody left feeling that they’d taken part in something important. Not bad for a Saturday morning eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inconsistent referees, obscured vision and cold weather do not make for a good afternoon

 

 

Brentford is no fun in the cold. Even in warm weather it isn’t that much better. Add to the equation of cold weather, an afternoon at Griffin Park, inquisition-esque ground staff, a view obscured by a pillar and Mike fucking Dean.

 

 

The reason for this excursion was simple, AFC Bournemouth were playing Brentford FC in the Championship. It was a game both teams needed to win. Bournemouth to keep themselves at the top of the table and Brentford to keep their promotion dreams alive. Sadly by the time the ground staff had sold me a ticket Bournemouth were one nil down. Add that I was sitting in the home end meaning that I had to take the mutants of Brentford’s jeers toward the traveling fans. For the majority of the game you couldn’t hear the home fans over the constant singing and cheering from the away end.

 

 

If you have never heard Bournemouth’s travelling army then you are missing out. While some of the chants are generic, but aren’t all football chants, they never stop singing and praising their team. I have been going to football matches since I was 7, trust me when I have seen some awful fans, but I have never seen a more loyal bunch of fans than Bournemouth’s. The second best away followers have to be Blackpool’s. After and thrashing at the Emirates they never stop cheering their players and team, and sadly, they won the day on the terraces that day.

 

 

While this piece is in favour of Bournemouth it has to be said that neither team deserved to win. Both made multiple mistakes and missed chances. The difference was down to three factors. Firstly Brentford had better luck. The ball bounced in their favour, this usually happens with home teams. It’s their turf so they know its kinks, but more on the pitch in a bit. Secondly Mike Dean was massively inconsistent. He didn’t book any Brentford players for time wasting until well into the second half. There were clear penalty shouts for both teams, but neither were given. Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie picked up a soft yellow card, then wasn’t booked again for what looked like a harsher challenge. There were multiple handballs, by both teams, and only a couple were given. For as long as I can remember Mike Dean has been awful. Scratch that, he makes awful look good. He has regularly decided games by rash and idiotic reasons. If he were a sandwich he’d be honey, garlic and liver. The third and final reason was the pitch. My neighbour’s garden would have been a better surface for playing and he has gravelly stones. One of Brentford’s most famous son’s Robert Rankin once wrote that one of the Great Pyramids of Giza appeared on the pitch at Griffin Park. Looking at the pitch today, if I had heard that rumour in the crown I would have believed it. In the closing moments of the game Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman won a slide tackle with a Brentford forward. When he arose from the pitch his name and number were obscured by mud and detritus. Parts of the pitch were sanded, and others looked as threadbare as an eight year olds knee after a disco.

 

 

Despite these negatives there were positives. Both teams midfields worked tirelessly winning tackles and pushing forward. However the real winner of the day wasn’t even on the pitch. At halftime I tried to get all the scores on my MP3 player’s radio. I only got as far as the first station I found. It’s bandwidth was 87.5 FM and it only played jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and other bass music. As soon as I found it I didn’t turn it off until I boarded the bus. I have no idea what the station is called, but it might have been UK Raw Radio, also the Magpie and Crown needs a mention too. It’s the best pub in Brentford, and perfect for per/post match drinks. Also Brentford’s decision to play the Vaccines’, Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) as the teams come out is also inspired, but random.

 

 

Brentford were the ‘better’ on the day, but their promotion hopes look like a long shot. While Bournemouth has been top of the table for months, it looks like the wheels might finally have fallen off. This is a shame, but if they can’t win games when referee’s and the bounce is against them, then they will find the top flight even harder. Whether either team will go for the final push remains to be seen, but the season isn’t over yet and a lot will happen between now and May 2nd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The classic Boxing Day. Football and then a poker night in the evening!

 

 

What better way to spend a Boxing Day then watching live football, in an actual stadium, with actual people, and actuals teams? As the match isn’t over I’m full of optimism and day dreaming about three points. After the game it’s a quick turn around and then back home, picked up some things and head to a mates for some good old fashioned poker.

 

 

 

 

If I was the kind of person to say that you’re all lose money to my cards, than I would be saying things like “I’m gonna win” “You’re gonna lose” “Compared to me all of you have no game and I’m going to beat you” “You all suck worse a whore with no teeth” and “I’m gonna beat you so bad your kids will be born with the imprint of my winning hands on them”.

 

 

Luckily I am not that kind of person, so I would never say anything like that to anyone or thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another transfer window closes; let’s imagine if football managers were musicians

 

 

I’m going a bit off piste here today. Over the last few days transfer rumours and signings have been ruling my world, so I thought it would be funny to imagine what musician’s football managers would be. Some are based on their methods, others on their persona and others still on how I perceive them.

 

 

Ian Holloway = Sqaurepusher

 

OK, this isn’t obvious at first, but bear with me. Like a lot of jazz (and let’s face it that’s kind of what Tom Jenkinson’s music is) there is a method to the madness. The method might not be apparent straight away, but there is one there. The same can be said with Holloway’s managerial style and most defiantly his interviews. “It’s all very well having a great pianist playing but it’s no good if you haven’t got anyone to get the piano on the stage in the first place, otherwise the pianist would be standing there with no bloody piano to play”. Nuff said really.

 

 

Harry Redknapp = Chas & Dave

Bit of a no brainer really. He’s an East End lad and they play Rockney (a mixture of boogie-woogie, pub rock, but with a cockney’s charm). Redknapp’s style of play could easily be classed at Rockney. It’s a bit old fashioned and rough around the edges, but it can be really enjoyable to see the old favourites performed live “Long Ball” and “442”.

 

 

Roberto Martinez = Fran Healey

This one might be a bit unfair, but I really think that Martinez is the football embodiment of Travis. Whilst massively unfashionable now at a time Travis were, well, alright. Sadly Travis haven’t changed their musical style over the years and nor as Martinez. There is nothing particularly wrong with this, it’s just a bit boring. Yes he won the FA with Wigan (no small feet) but Travis also headlined Glastonbury (again no small feat given their talent and lack of competition).

 

 

Steve Bruce = Tom Scholz

Steve Bruce is similar to Roberto Martinez. (This pains me to say but) Bruce was one of the best centre backs England ever produced. Since making the switch to management He has never changed his style of play. This is probably down to the way he played for Manchester United. He went in hard and worked hard for every ball. This is something Bruce instils in his teams. Tom Scholz’s story is similar. Scholz’s built a studio in his basement and made demo, after demo, after demo until he got signed (and formed Boston). It’s this bloody mindedness and perseverance equate the two together. Boston eventually got singed and Steve Bruce almost won the FA Cup last year.

 

 

Mauruicio Pochettino = Mick Jagger

This one might be a bit short-sighted, but I feel that Pochettino only cares about his reputation and the amount of money he can get, rather than the team he is in charge of. The same can be said for Mick Jagger. It’s been written that Jagger only cares about how much money he has and how famous he is, compared to whether he is making good product. I feel the same can be said for Pochettino. Leaving Southampton after an amazing season to jump to Spurs shows that he never really cared for the club and when a better offer comes along he will leave Spurs for it too. This is fine, and maybe he thought he had taken Southampton as far as he could, but I would have love to have seen what he did this season with that group of young English players.

 

 

Brendan Rodgers = Black Sabbath

Before I get into this, I want to say that I actually like and rate Brendan Rodgers. He has done what many have failed to do in recent years. Make Liverpool play well and attack the summit of the Premier League. Black Sabbath are the perfect band to represent Rodgers’ style of managed and play. His teams can be fast, they have vibrant attacking options and they can be fun to watch. However I feel that the legacy of the band attracts more fans than the current releases. This can be said for Liverpool. They have one of the richest pasts in English football, but recently they haven’t won a great deal. I’m sure time will change this though. Sadly…

 

 

Manuel Pellegrini = Kanye West

This one has little to do with style of play, but down to cold hard cash. Manchester City are one of the most wealthy teams in the world. In theory they can buy anyone, for any amount of money. Excess is woven into their current stadium and trophy cabinet. Excess can also be used to describe Kanye West. Everything he does it beyond the realm of financial mortals. Everything he says is excessive. I like Pellegrini’s manner, but when the results don’t go his way he’ll be gone. With an excessive payout in hand.

 

 

Jose Mourinho = Phil Spector

I’m drawing parallels between Phil Spector’s private\later life. Far from it, I think that when joe Mourinho sets up a football team, he sets up a wall of football (similar to Spector’s Wall-of-Sound). No matter who he plays he steps up his strongest team. Be that a league match (after the title is in hand), a Carling Cup match on a rainy Wednesday night or a Champions League game. This has to be commended. But like Spector Mourinho is immensely arrogant thinks no one can better what does. See a perfect match!

 

 

Louis Van Gaal = Captain Beefheart

When Miroslav Klose played under Louis Van Gaal he has said “It was a tough time, particularly working with Van Gaal, I didn’t feel free. It was very difficult for me to fulfil his expectations. He was asking me to make runs I just couldn’t see. I gave it all I could, but sometimes it just wasn’t enough.” This is a similar response from musicians who played under the good Captain’s (mis)guidance. Captain Beefheart was notorious for making musicians play seemingly impossible riffs, chord progressions for days on end until he had the sound he wanted. Both Van Gaal and Beefheart have the product to back up their odd working practices. Van Gaal has won trophies everywhere he has been and Beefheart’s discography contains some of the most ground breaking and inventive music ever committed to tape. Time will tell if Van Gaal bring the silverware back to Manchester United or if he’ll end up with an Unconditionally Guaranteed on his hands.

 

 

Arsene Wenger = Sun Ra

Before we go on I should say I am a massive fan of both Arsene Wenger and Sun Ra. Sun Ra is one of the most innovative, forward thinking, musicians and band leaders of all time. Ra kept a big band going to 40-50 years. He did this though a shoestring budget (at first), communal living, lectures on subjects that interested him and a love of music. The same can be said of Wenger (I can validate the communal living or lectures, but if he could he probably would). When the Premier league was (let’s not beat about the bush) going mental by paying silly money for players Wenger bought the players that he thought would be beneficial for the team without paying over the odds for them. Wenger has also brought in many regulations for his Arsenal team. The most striking is an anti-drinking policy during the season for his players. Ra was tee-total and imposed a drinking and drugs ban on his musicians. Some called playing with like the “Ra Jail” meaning that once you were in his band, you lived and breathed his music 100% sober. When you see some of the best free flowing attacking playing football. That’s Ra. When you see the team make 30+ touches before scoring. That’s Ra. When you see Wenger sitting on the bench then walk over to a player and speak calming about what needs to happen. That’s Ra. Now if only Wenger would start wearing Egyptian headgear and quoting about Isis and pyramids, he would truly be Sun Ra!

 

 

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trust Us (Take 6)

 

 

September 2014

 

 

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The tour is over, but what a tour!!!!

 

 

The 2014 Tour de France should go down as a classic! From the first stage there were blood sweat and tears (maybe not in that order). I have never known a tour when so many of the favourites went out so quickly. To call it open was an understatement.

 

 

After the first week it was pretty safe to see who was going to win the yellow and green (save any more accidents or attacks), but who wins isn’t really all the tour is about. Each day is its own mini tour. Personally I love the breakaways and it always make me sad when they get caught, but when they don’t I’m ecstatic.

 

 

In Vincenzo Nibali there is a true winner (as long as it turns out he’s clean). He has won all three Grand Tours. A feat that not every winner can say. Whether this will be the start of many tour titles will remain to be seen, but for now he can rest on his laurels. With Peter Sagan there is a sprinter who can climb mountains. I wonder if the time will come when he decides to go for the GC title. I think that if he does he will have to write off a whole season getting mentally and physically set for it. A friend thinks he could easily with yellow if he changed his mindset. I’m not so sure, but I’d love to see him try.

 

 

For now the tour is over, but in a little under a month my attentions will be sent to Spain where the Vuelta will take place (23/08/2014 – 14/09/2014). This year’s Vuelta looks set to be completely different from most years. A lot of the fallen tour riders have now set this as their ‘Must Win’ event. Let’s hope that they pull off a classic and get this race in everyone’s mind (and soul).

 

 

 

Kraftwerk-Tour de France

 

 

July 2014

 

 

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The World Cup ends today, the winner is still unknown, but what is the best football song ever?

 

 

As the World Cup ends today I thought I’d come up with a different kind of blog. Today I have decided to come up with the best 10 football songs ever! I know that some of you won’t agree with the list, but I hope you enjoy the choices!

 

A worth mention should go to Scotland’s World Cup team in 1998. Del Amitri had the honours and this is what they did…

 

 

 

 

10. Los Ramblers-El Rock Del Mundial

 

 

 

 

Arguably the first ever football song, so it’s in at number 10 for that reason.

 

 

9. Baddiel and Skinner and The Lightning Seeds -3 Lions

 

 

 

 

First off I hate this song. It’s been overplayed and it isn’t actually that good when you get down to it.

 

 

8. The Beautiful Sound- Hooligans Don’t Fall in Love

 

 

 

 

Paul Heaton is a massive football fan (even if he does support Sheffield United). This is his take on a football anthem. Utterly beautiful!

 

 

7. Black Grape-England’s Irie

 

 

 

 

Shaun Ryder and co came up with this catchy ditty for Euro 1996. It’s a proper tune and Joe Strummer is on it.

 

 

6. Collapsed Lung-Eat my Goal

 

 

 

 

Eat My Goal. ‘Nuff said really!

 

 

5. Village People-Far Away in America

 

 

 

 

What isn’t to love about this song? It’s the 1994 Germany squad hanging out with the Village People.

 

 

4. New Order-World In Motion

 

 

 

 

That football song that made it cool to write and record a football song.

 

 

3. Fat Les-Vindaloo

 

 

 

 

This was going to be my number 1 song, but then I remembered the other 2. I still love this song. It reminds me of being at school and it was probably the last time I was confident about a football tournament. Silly boy…
 

2. Primal Scream-The Big Man and the Scream Team Meet the Barmy Army Uptown

 

 

 

 

This is a weird one as it actually talks about what it’s like to be a football fan, rather than just shouting and screaming “WE WON!”

 

 

  1. Pop Will Eat Itself-Cicciolina

 

 

 

This is my favourite football song of all time. It was released in 1990 after the World Cup was over, but it has everything you need. it’s catchy and danceable!

 

 

Pop Will Eat Itself – Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina – Edited Highlights

 

 

July 2014

 

 

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Happy Mondays

 

 

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Primal Scream

Today has been one of the best sporting experiences of my life!

 

 

Today I stood on the side of a hill in Yorkshire for three hours waiting for just under 200 cyclists to speed past me in less than a minute. It was amazing! I went with my wife and Mother-In-Law. They are not massive fan of La Tour, but they thought it was amazing too.

 

 

The original plan was to go to Holme Firth vineyard and watch it there through binoculars as they attacked Côte de Holme Moss. When we got there (earlier than expected) we were informed by a waitress that “If you walk through the vineyard, turn right, walk a bit, cross over the bright and go up a bit you’ll be right on the road for the race”. After receiving instructions like that who wouldn’t check it out? So after tea and coffees we ventured out to get a place on the road side. The waitresses directions were almost flawless and half a mile later we were on the route. Actually where we came out was 4.7km to the summit. So as we had time (and it was sunny) we walked up Holme Moss and found a good spot on a dry stone wall (it is Yorkshire after all) opposite a row of houses (one guy was actually playing Kraftwerk – Tour De France on loop like a demented mantra). Here we stayed until everything was over and it was time to go home.

 

 

If you have never experienced the race live I urge you to do it. There is a festival like atmosphere. Everyone is friendly, swapping stories, information, laughs and sometimes food and drink. An hour before the riders come through the race caravan passes by. The caravan is made up of official race cars, merchandise vendors and companies throwing out free swag for us the crowd. The companies ranged from the French Police, fruit juice companies, insurance firms, airlines, local tourism, basically the whole spectrum. I managed to get a limited edition box of Yorkshire Thé.

 

 

When the riders fly by, you don’t know if you should cheer or try and take photos. I did both. This is the best one I got.

 

Tour de France

Tour de France

 

 

 

 

The only drawback is you don’t actually know who is in the lead as or if there is a breakaway unless someone near you have a tablet or one of the houses puts their TV in the window with the sound up loud. Hours later I am still buzzing about the experience. I am very tempted to try and catch a stage in France, but this will probably have to wait until next year. Needless to say I will be glued to the race all day for the remained for the tour. If I wasn’t an obsessed fan before I certainly am now!

 

Kraftwerk – Tour De France Étape 2 – 2009 – Remaster

 

 

July 2014

 

 

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Yello

 

 

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