Good Lord

August 11, 2008

Well, so it is I haven’t actually given any attention to this ‘ol blog of mine for some time.  ‘Why’ you ask, well frankly I don’t know.  Maybe I have no opinion on anything more, some may argue I never had one in the first place.  However here I am back at this keyboard typing furiously.  Unfortunately, I still have fuck all to say.  I could moan about cyclists or Australians or something, but I don’t know, that is no use to me or to you.  Then again the only good consumer advice I have offered on here is a recommendation of San Miguel, something, for the record, I stand by. 

So, life for a twenty two year-old Englishman these days it is then!  What can I say, it is probably full of more potholes than being a teenager was.  Although then again, thinking back being a teenager is possibly the greatest time.  Seriously, if you are in your teens and reading this, then really you are wasting your time – actually no, that is not fair.  You don’t have to be doing something all the time, that would just be ridiculous.  Just enjoy it or something, I can’t be bothered to be profound about being a teenager, that is not for me to preach; I’ve been there and done it, it is not for me to tell other people how to do it and anyway, you’re a teenager, you won’t listen anyway.  I wouldn’t have.  I would have pretended to though out of politeness. 

Anyway, yes twenty two, what an age.  Finish Uni, get a job, suddenly you see why Fridays are great.  This is something you haven’t appreciated since you were at school and that really is a while ago now.  A friend of mine reminded me it was 4 years since we left.  Can’t say I have achieved much since then, ok so I have a degree, learnt a G chord on a guitar amongst maybe a few others (one doesn’t wish to show off) and got drunk several times.  Oh and started this blog that no one reads although I write it as though millions do.  I think the thing about being twenty two is, you are on yet another cusp.  Well you feel you should be anyway.  People you know are in long standing relationships maybe even getting married and thinking about the next step.  Careers are supposed to be started (I hope I have started mine now), you might have even started putting money in a pension fund (I have, it depresses me greatly). 

Then again, twenty two isn’t exactly old either.  It is a good age really, but so is any age when you are happy I suppose. It is easy to get nostalgic about age, indeed it is anything that was in the past isn’t it?  I do it way too often, it can’t be healthy reflecting on the past too much. 

Anyway, I am even boring myself now with this, so I apologise. 

Kris’ brother was wearing an excellent jumper on Hollyoaks earlier (E4 one at 7pm), if anyone knows where to get one let me know, cheers.

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I’ve been working in London for the last month and don’t worry I’m not planning on talking about how wonderful it is, the vibe, the buzz, the buildings, the feeling of being small and then realising everyone else is just as insignificant which somehow makes you feel completely settled and all that kind of thing.  Not to say there isn’t a degree of truth in that, but it’s not what I can be bothered to talk about.  There are people who can wax lyrical about London and generally appreciate what it has to offer far more than me, so go read their blogs if you want to hear about London. 

No, I am here to discuss the train journey.  The train journey is a very anti social thing from one perspective, but however in a very potentially social environment for the other.  That could be a mark of individualisation and gesellschaft and all that kind of thing, or you can blame it on the iPod.  Either way, you don’t get to meet people, but you become aware of their existance, which from the perspective of a judgemental being like myself is wonderful.  I see some great people on that train, people that are intriguing, people I loathe and hate, people I think look like other people (my personal favourite is a fat, bald version of Jools Holland) and one particular girl who I have never heard speak, I don’t know her name, all I know is I am madly in love with her for that hour on the train when we share a carriage. 

You get to see all the different sides of modern England on a train, because to a degree, the trains going in and out of London are a relatively classless affair.  In the mornings, all those business types are on, all those details of a more cosmopolitan man are there, no  tie, a pinkish shirt, coffee in one of those dreadful cups with the lid on.  People reading through their presentations on their laptops or just watching DVDs, usually wearing those glasses with the needlessly pronounced frames.  It’s fantastic, these are guys who have an image to maintain and they make sure they have all the tools to do it.  It’s utterly predictable, but quite fascinating as well. 

Then you have the opposite, usually in the evenings:  the “yoof”.  Oh dear.  I hate them, I really do, everything about them.  It’s not some kind of class war, far from it.  It’s a matter of manners.  These kids will get on the train and immediately there is a cacophony of horrible words and accents and they project to everyone.  Some insist on throwing rubbish out of the windows despite the fact there are several bins throughout the cabin, but the worst thing is their music.  Whoever decided that playing music through a speaker on a phone was a worthwhile feature on mobiles needs to be shot several times.  They play their god awful “urban” music to everyone on the train.  Most people have had a long day and that’s the last thing anyone needed to hear after already being treated to their on the whole pretty shit conversations.  I really don’t understand how they can be so selfish and not be bothered by it at all.

Other than those types though.  The train can be quite interesting and indeed endearing.  There are a group of people I regularly end up sitting near on my train journey home.  They look like the could be the stars of an early 90s sitcom, and that is of course brilliant.  They all sit there every day after work having a bloody good laugh together, never do they seem to be pissed off and I think that’s great, I really do.  It’s a long old day when the train adds a few hours onto your working day as it is, but these men and women will regardless sit there everyday having a laugh with old friends.  It warms the old cockles. 

I have no idea why anyone would be interested in the people I see on the train, but I am and this is my blog so I will write about them and why not indeed. 

“Soon you will have in England no English presidents, you already have no English coach, you have no English players and maybe now you will have no clubs playing in England. It’s a joke” – Michel Platini

 So it would seem the Premier League wants to take the English Premiership abroad, why?  Well probably through some rubbish about ‘spreading the word’ or something I don’t know.  Whatever Scudamore’s decision, along with the 20 Premiership clubs who have agreed to look into the possibilities, or reasoning behind this ludicrous idea the conclusion should be almost conclusive in favour of saying ‘get to fuck’. 

As I can see it, one of the arguments in favour of this is so that fans from other countries can see our football.  As far as I am aware, we’re living in a pretty globalised society aren’t we?  Do these places not have televisions?  Why aren’t they supporting teams in their own countries?  In fact, I am also aware that pretty much every country in the world other than ours has far more access to coverage of our games in our Premiership than we do.  We can’t even listen to Five fucking live to listen to fat Liverpool loving twat Alan Green tell us how shit he thinks Rio Ferdinand is on online because it infringes something.  We have to use the wireless (or a digital or Sky, but you get my point)  instead, while some lucky bugger somewhere else can watch a 3pm kick off game on a Saturday and we have to wait for Lorenzo on Football First or Linekar and friends on Match of the Day.  Of course we can actually go to the game, but we’re slowly being priced out of that as well.  At least if they take it to another country the novelty factor of seeing a Premiership game will fill the stadium.  In other words, the whole thing is motivated by money. 

 It’s a sorry state of football when money is the driving factor in having to play an extra game in a season on a neutral ground in Dubai or something.  Ok it’s great for them in Dubai, but what’s wrong with playing pre-season games there?  If you really want to take football abroad, then just go and invent some other shite cup tournament to play in several countries at the same time pre-season.  You could take 4 teams to 5 countries, rotate the countries, hold a random draw for who plays where and there you go.  What about taking the Charity/Community/whatever shield to a foreign country, no one gives a shit about that anyway. 

The whole thing is a joke, as Platini rightly said.  I’m not a big fan of Platini, since he has been at UEFA anyway, but this time he is spot on.  If we start taking one game a season abroad, what is there to stop the clubs thinking ‘hmmm we made a good bit of money there, lets do more games’ and eventually we’ll have less games here.  The players eventually go from being technically talented individuals to circus performers for the money men.  0-0 draws will probably get banned because fans in the US paid to see goals or something.  I don’t want to sound like some kind of xenophobe or anything, I just feel that taking the English Premiership to other countries is another example of football bowing down to the money making.  Frankly it makes me sick. 

OK, so I assume we all know what the Truman Show is.  Jim Carey being followed around in a giant mini world (wow what a massive contradiction in terms!).  Anyway, after many years of thought, I can safely say it pretty much ruined my life.  Let us look at why this is and how it came to be. 

 I find myself saying stupid things to myself constantly, for example, if I drop something I will say “oh you daft twat” or something like that as a means of justifying it to anyone who could possibly be watching me.  Why would anyone be watching me?  Well I don’t know, why ARE you watching me?  You tell me, you’re the one watching the damn thing!  At least you will notice my general sitcom-esque reaction facial expressions have improved greatly over the last few years, hopefully that adds a dimension of comedy to the drama of my life on your TV.  Of course I don’t know for sure that you’re watching me everyday, but is it not unreasonable to argue that the producers have been subliminally making me appreciate the value of a good reaction shot to help the show look more slick and me ultimately more interesting? 

Now that paragraph has made me look a little crazy hasn’t it?  Well here is why the Truman Show has ruined my life, indeed I have toyed with the suggestion that the film was only made to make me think the whole concept was truly absurd and it could never ever be done.  Reality TV is quite popular (a terrible shame) and those programmes could all be more means of showing me that others are in that situation so I’m alright where I am.  

So if you’re reading this and happen to come across me in the pub, come and say “Hi Rambling Young Fool, can I buy you a pint?”, it will truly freak me out.  In fact if you know who I am and I don’t know you and I don’t actually star in a long running programme about me, you can really scare the shit out of me by using the aforementioned greeting in the pub. 

Call me paranoid if you want, but you can’t rule these things out can you?  I can only apologise for my liking of pornography anyway.  In fact, maybe it is you who is starring in a long running show about you and this blog, like the Truman Show is a mere trick to throw you off the scent.  Something to consider when you’re dancing around your room listening to Maniac by Michael Sembello eh.  Although I would like to take this opportunity to ask people who seem to look at me when I walk down the street to bring an end to it as it’s weird, thanks. 

A Rather Important Epiphany

January 15, 2008

Well hello there!  Fancy seeing you here!  Of course, I’m merely kicking off with an opening usually heard in the gents toilets at pubs across the country, I can’t actually see you, but if I could I’m sure I would be delighted.  Especially if you were a very attractive wealthy single woman who lived near enough to be close and far enough away not to be annoying.  Enough about you anyway, lets here more about me and the “Rather important Epiphany”. 

I have recently accepted a job involving aviation risk (it’s nothing too spectacular, but if I just use those two words from the title it sounds very amazing) which is a slightly different turn to my career path as it was before Christmas 2007.  My aim for a couple of months at least towards the back end of last year was to become a teacher.  There are a few reasons for this, lets start with the nice ones.  I felt the job may actually give me some purpose and help me to help the kids as it were.  Education seems to be something everyone raves about, so “why not?” I thought.  I specifically was looking at Primary education, not least because from experience most kids at secondary school are, for want of a stronger word, complete arseholes.  Sure you get the nice ones, of course you do, but they’re not the ones who you will be losing sleep over because you heard them whispering about you being a complete cunt and how they’re “gonna get” you.  Also, they are the ones with the shit test scores that cost you your job and reputation and cause you to lash out violently and finish your teaching career in a blaze of raging glory. 

Ok, so Primary teaching.  There were some extremely cynical and frankly selfish reasons for this option.  Firstly, it had occured that they may fear me more.  I can look quite miserable/angry as a general demeanour sometimes and I figured that this would work in my favour.  Next, the holidays would be like being at school again, plenty of time off in other words compared to, for want of a better word, normal work.  The money would be ok for the first few years and with Primary education apparently lacking male influence, the opportunities to climb the ladder are supposed to be quite good.  Why is there not enough male influence though?  Well a friend of mine did put it to me one evening in the pub that in the current climate maybe being a male primary school teacher doesn’t sell the correct image for yourself.  Pretty ridiculous, but true enough as this issue is quite frankly ridiculous in the context of our paranoid parenting world. 

So this is where the doubts started to kick in.  The next thing that occured to me was that I’d have homework again and I can’t be doing with that!  I thought all that was behind me, I can’t go back.  Not now.  Not ever.  Marking the work is as much work as doing it I would have thought.  Another factor was that I have and still have a lot of respect for the secondary school teachers that I enjoyed being taught by, the same just doesn’t apply to the primary ones.  Yes I respect them, but not in the same way.  The secondary ones you at one point could share a pint with, this is a special bond and for obvious reasons that just never happens with primary teachers.  Now this isn’t an attack on the perils of time and stages of growing or even the legal age for drinking alcohol, this is a personal thing.  Without that recognition, I couldn’t really see the point. 

However, the epiphany really struck when I realised one crucial thing:  I really don’t like children that much.  This is something that could cause problems and dare I say, me to not really be a very good teacher.  Primary teachers have to be more soft in order to make their point,  they can’t just swear and shout and I just don’t think I have the capacity to handle this.  You can talk about all the fulfillment you want, but in reality, if you don’t like children, what good is that going to do anyone?  I think I was considering teaching largely because, I didn’t know what to do with myself and my life.  To start teaching out of indecision and frankly boredom isn’t exactly the slogan the Government is looking for I wouldn’t have thought. 

Yes, a debate that has been raging in pubs and social clubs across the country:  Which is the best TV doc?  The candidates that I hear most discussing are down to three and these are of course Dr Perry Cox (Scrubs), Dr Gregory House (House) and Dr Joe Fenton (Doctors).  A superb ‘three-way’ if there ever was.  These three all deal in different issues most weeks and on a different scale.  Dr Cox and House probably have more in common in terms of presentation of both image and attitude than the outsider Joe Fenton.  However, don’t underestimate ‘The Fent’, the man is as smooth and succint as they come. 

Lets begin with Dr Cox.  Scrubs as we know is more of a comedy, however Cox manages to every now and then come up with a good moral hiding (usually near the end before the regular indie music begins and JD goes on his roundup) but he has also known to have been on the end of a good moral battle himself.  Whatever happens, he comes across for 20 minutes of the whole show as being a harsh, battle worn and quite frankly hilarious doctor until the final 5 mins when he surprises you with his response or action to something that he has been involved with during the show. 

Ok, Gregory House, who is brilliantly played by Hugh Laurie.  Like Cox, he has a cynical side, but that is not necessarily for the same reasons as the aforementioned.  House has something wrong with his leg (I can’t remember what, something to do with dead muscle or whatever, I can’t be bothered to look it up) and as such is in constant pain and has an addiction to painkillers, something of which he is quite open and frank about.  House is usually on a case that involves a lot of trial and elimination study with his team (which includes Billy Kennedy from Neighbours and some really REALLY attractive young lady) to work out what is wrong with his patients as they usually have something that cannot be diagnosed until about 50 mins into the show.  House like Cox comes out with some classic one liners to provide a bit of fun to what is described as a drama.  Cox has on occasion been known to get fed up with House as he doesn’t regard the show as what day to day medicine is about.  House has a keen interest in music and is often seen playing some kind of air instrument in his office. 

Finally, probably the lesser known of the three, Joe Fenton.  Joe is a local GP at the fictional Mill Health centre.  Although he doesn’t have the cynical edge of the other two, he too can come out with the odd one liner.  Joe’s stories are far from the spectacular realms of House or even Dr Cox, but it’s what he does with them that counts.  Usually there to dispense some excellent advice to his patients, Joe is a wise head in the profession.  He’s not one to suffer fools either as was seen when he exposed the fake faith healing practioner a couple of weeks ago.  Also a keen interest in music and was seen singing and playing his guitar with fellow doc, Nick West recently. 

So which one is the best, far be it from me to decide once and for all as there is a lot of competition here.  Perhaps too much for one man to have the responsibility of deciding himself.  However, if I may be so bold, I think House edges it for me at the moment, this of course is subject to change.  Doctors returns to our screens today, so lets see what Joe Fenton can come up with and Scrubs it would seem is always on on one channel or the other.  The debate rages on. 

I love Morrissey, the man is an absolute genius and if it wasn’t for him I’d probably be one of those chaps who wears baseball caps and tracksuits and talk in a funny kind of “I really so badly wish I was a big black muscley American gangster but I’m actually a weedy spotty very ugly white Englishman” way.  There are many things to love about Morrissey and this surely would be a reason to meet the man.  Unfortunately for me, he probably wouldn’t like me very much.  For one I eat meat and not just because I can’t be bothered not to, but because I actually quite enjoy it.  He doesn’t like people who do that, he usually objects to them.  I’m southern, so he would hold that against me.  I’m not necessarily a royalist but I prefer them to politicians (in terms of, better to have the Queen as a figurehead than a politician), so I don’t know where he would stand on that.  Perhaps we could have some kind of debate on that, but then because of the aforementioned reasons we would never get the chance to do so. 

Mozza would reject me and because of this, I would probably reject him.  This would forever remove Morrissey as a man I admire down to someone who I had a bad encounter with.  This would ruin him and his music for me and then what would I do?  Well frankly I don’t know, however, due to the fact that I will never, nor do I ever want to meet him, this dilemma is all merely a load of rubbish.  I feel it is something that I needed to express, who knows how many other people are on the verge of meeting Morrissey and haven’t thought about whether or not they are truly compatible enough with the great man to even merely have a conversation with him.  I would not be his cup of tea unfortunately.  It’s a shame really, I would like to buy him a pint and say thanks, but if anything that’s one more pint I can buy for myself.   

The (sweet) FA

December 11, 2007

So Jose Mourinho has ruled himself out of the England head coach position this morning.  A shame, but probably no real surprise.  The FA are now suddenly in some kind of rush it would seem to appoint a new manager.  The newspapers are leading the charge (naturally) calling largely for Fabio Capello.  Capello is a fine coach with great pedigree of course, but my only problem with this seems to be the need to get a coach in straight away. 

 Steve McClaren, a man who drew and lost as many games as he won and never gave us an England game to remember for the right reasons was finally removed from his position barely a month ago.  He should of course have been removed a long time before that, in fact, as many Englands fans said at the time, he should never have even been given the chance to fail.  Now, it is obvious why the FA would want to move on from this disaster as soon as possible and get people to move on, but by doing this they really are just going down the same path they took when they rushed the inept McClaren into the job (albeit with a more high class aim). 

While it is definitely worth talking to Capello, it shouldn’t be at the expense of talking to other coaches as well, for example the current World Champion Marcello Lippi.  Lippi is available and has been for sometime, he is proven at international level, probably the only unproven part of Capello’s track record is international football of course.  These two Italians have some things in common, firstly the style of football.  Under McClaren, the England team was arguably one of the most boring irritating spectacles you forced yourself to watch whenever they played.  Under either of Capello or Lippi the football might not be played in a Manchester United style of fierce attack minded play, it might be quite dull at times in fact, however the results will be much better.  Not to say either of these Italian craftsmen will not be able to create some flair in the side of course, but in those games where England might need to contain, they will do that.  Unlike before, you might have more hope in them holding on though. 

Neither coach speaks English, but there is plenty of time for them to pick that up.  The argument against this, put forward by the Daily Mail’s Steve Curry, is that the players in the England set up are coached to a high enough standard for their clubs and the coach of the England teams duty is to inspire more than coach.  Having not had an inspirational style coach since Keegan, it’s hard to say how much this is true.  To be brutally honest, Keegan was hardly one of the better England coaches anyway.  So we shall see.  Another important, perhaps the most significant similarity is both these coaches are cooler than you could ever wish to be.  Capello always has some kind of nicely crafted suit to fall back on and Lippi enjoys smoking huge cigars.  What more could you want?

There is another coach that could be worth waiting for – Guus Hiddink.  He has a proven record of getting the most out of players who on paper don’t seem much of a threat.  There might be a slight over confidence in the minds of England players at the moment and Hiddink could be the one to remind them of how good they are, or indeed how good they should be, not how great they think they are.  Hiddink has proven international success (in context of who he has managed: South Korea, Australia and Russia) and can speak English too.  We know this after some of the verbal attacks he has launched our way in previous times.  The downside of Hiddink as far as the FA are concerned is that they won’t be able to get him in place until after EURO 2008.  England don’t actually have any competitive games until after EURO 2008 anyway though, so if they think he is worth waiting for (and he surely has to be considered if he is interested) then they should wait.  There are plenty of people who can take temporary charge of the England side within the FA just for a few money spinning friendlies to pay for Wembley.  Trevor Brooking could do it if he wanted, Stuart Pearce would probably welcome a crack at the England first team for a few months, even good old Howard Wilkinson could do it should anyone so desire to ask him.  The FA seem in a bit of a rush though, so the best candidate of the ones available at the moment have to be Capello or Lippi.  At least they have plenty of time to learn the language if they get either one of them now. 

Lets just hope we have more success under whoever it is they choose to be the next coach.  No more McClaren style failure, not sure if the fans will tolerate not making it to another tournament.  Still at least, if anything we can see if the lack of English supporters makes any difference to hooliganism out there.  We will see if we really should get the blame everytime someone throws a plastic chair at someone.   

In my short time on this earth so far and in fact the even shorter time that I have been drinking alcoholic based beverages, I can safely say that San Miguel is one of the best.  Ignore the rather shite advert featuring the chap who used to be in Hollyoaks (although you have to say his hairstyle is quite cool, just doubt he predicted the downturn in fortunes after leaving such a high class show) the drink itself is an absolute wonder.  Crisp and refreshing when served ice cold, and the after taste isn’t annoying either. 

It stands up there with Staropramen, Budwar, Becks Vier and all those kind of ‘this is clearly better than Stella‘ lagers.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a rather fond taste for (and this may be slightly controversial) a cold pint of Carling on a warm summers day, but there is definitely a clear divide and a lager snobbery if you will for the more premium lagers out there.  Ale drinkers (those who disregard lager and refuse to drink it, obviously people can vary their drinks!) find this hilarious as they think that every single lager on earth tastes the same.  We know this to obviously be untrue, there are many different styles and tastes out there.  White lagers are something on the whole I cannot abide however, they’re too fruity, so fruity they’re sour. 

Anyway, back to our hero – San Miguel.  A fantastic lager, it really is.  I’ve had a few this evening and not a single one has let me down at all.  It is a drink that is able to survive in both summer and winter.  Some beers are very much seasonal.  For example, a lot of ales tend to just go down better in the Winter with the non die-hard ale set, because lets face it, who wants a warm flat beer on a really hot summers day?  Not me anyway.  Guiness I tend to shy away from in the summer and prefer it in the winter, no real reason for that though (so really that sentence was pretty useless, something that could be said of all the other sentences in this particular discussion I suppose).  Anyway, I’m getting bored now, so you must be as well.  Lets finish by saying that San Miguel is a very fine beer, very fine indeed. 

If us slightly out of shape guys keep going to the gym and swimming regularly, then my word, we should be quite “toned” at some point in the future.  So, any women who are interested really need to get in quick, because who knows what could happen once all this keep fit lark really kicks in. 

Or is that ever so slightly presumptuous?