Wednesday, January 31, 2007
And a very happy birthday to my Dad.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Jay was a decent enough player who had suffered through some unlucky injuries. I remember him knocking David Beckham into the stand in a semi-final at Old Trafford, then getting injured and going on loan to, ahem, Burnley and Ipswich.
The best Rovers teams all had a talisman - a player who connects with the fans, either because he was one himself, or he's done well when the club have given him a chance - Simon Garner, Colin Hendry, David Dunn spring to mind. For all his badge kissing, Savage doesn't quite do it.
That said, Matt Derbyshire is doing ever so well. Hope springs for him.
Genuinely, I thought the government would be brass necked enough to give it to the Dome. But the body set up to scrutinise the bids looked at delivery, regeneration and the business case - I never thought Blackpool would be able to make that stack up. Manchester is top draw on putting together winning bids - Sports events, political conferences and trade exhibitions.
But a cautionary thought: having joined new Manchester 235 casino just before Christmas I was absolutely stunned at the scale of the place, but aghast at the emptiness of it. It was soulless and lifeless and bore no relation to the shiny images on the brochures. I just don't think they'll catch on.
Anyway, good luck to Ken Knott and his pals. Please knock down that awful embarrassing spiky statue before it kills someone.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Aussie legend Laurie Daley described it thus: “Rugby league is a simple game played by simple people. Rugby union is a complex game played by wankers.”
I don't forget, but I can forgive. With that in mind I took Rachel and all five boys to Sale Sharks v Ospreys on Saturday, for a proper report look here.
It was an exciting game watched by a noisier and more partisan crowd than I expected. I liked the fact I could have drunk beer all through the game, which I can't do at football. We may go back, but we still have a lot of football grounds to go to yet. And the kids are just itching to get to Ewen Fields and Moss Lane.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Cohen has no problem with those who are upset about state-sponsored exaggerations of the causes of war, or furious about the bungled occupation of Iraq that has ensued. People who think this is the problem are not his problem.
Here's his problem: the people who would die before they would applaud the squaddies and grunts who removed hideous regimes from Afghanistan and Iraq, yet who happily describe Islamist video-butchers and suicide-murderers as a "resistance". Those who do this are not "anti-war" at all, but are shadily taking the other side in a conflict where the moral and civilisational stakes are extremely high.
There are two possible sorts of "left" reaction to a dilemma like this. One is to seek out the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world - the Kurdish revolutionaries in Iraq, say, or the Afghan women's movement - and to offer them your solidarity whether Bush or Blair will do so or not. (Some things, as Orwell wrote, are true even if The Daily Telegraph says they are true.) The other is to say that globalisation is the main enemy, and that, therefore, any enemy of that enemy is a friend. In this twisted mental universe, even a medievalist jihad is better than no struggle at all. Cohen has decided to adopt the first position, and to anatomise and ridicule the second one. The result is an exemplary piece of political satire, in which the generally amusing and ironic tone should not lull you into ignoring the deadly
seriousness of the argument.
(See also here.)
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
His new book Fear Of Music, the sequel of 261 albums chosen with total prejudice is now being talked about in these parts. He was roughed up on Terry Christian's BBC Manchester programme yesterday for ignoring the Stone Roses.
The full lists are here, but these are my ten favourite albums that aren't in his book, in no particular order.
Stiff Little Fingers – Nobody’s Heroes
Dead Kennedy’s – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops
The The – Infected
R.E.M. – Monster
Aztec Camera - Love
Nirvana – Never Mind
Oasis – What’s the Story
Stone Roses – Stone Roses
Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
But this is my truth, tell me yours?
Gordo at Manchester Confidential has this to say:
Take many hundreds of people coming to the theatre. Currently they can find parking in and around, say, St Ann’s Square. Within site of the theatre. No more. They will have to go to, say, the Arndale car park and dodge the skateboarders all the way up Cross Street, without a policeman in sight. It’s hard enough supporting theatres in the first place these days, but this silly money grabbing idea will kill them off.The full rant is here.
However, this is a democracy and this link here is to the consulation page on the council's site.
I think Gordo goes over the top, but that's what he's about. There is a sense behind the scheme, but like the arguments over public transport, there is a lag behind the provision of a decent alternative; thus pleasing no-one. If the car parks at Great Northern, Kendals and the Arndale were safer and better we'd be happier using them. If the trams, taxis and trains were better we'd use them too.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Now Piccadilly station is closed, the M60 is in chaos and we've sent everyone home. Outside the office it's gridlock.
Grim times. Stay safe.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It got me thinking. *Dons anorak, wipes mouth*.
I've watched top class football at 94 grounds in England and Wales. My official 92 club tally is 66 as I lose a couple every season, I've lost Bristol Rovers twice!
In Scotland I've done Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Ayr, Airdrie and Hamilton Accies. The last two are old grounds.
In the Conference I've done the current homes of Altrincham, Morecambe, York and Cambridge. I've also been once to the nearest football ground to my home, Ewen Fields, home of Hyde United.
Abroad I've done Ajax, PSG, Lyon, CSKA Sofia, Shelbourne, Nuremberg, Kuala Lumpur, Perth Italia, another in Perth, one in Melbourne (can't remember).
I've also played at Lancaster City, Marine, Exeter City, Brixham Town, Morecambe, Cheadle Town and Leyton.
Is it child cruelty to say that when the kids are older I'm going to embark on some lost weekends to complete the set?
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
You can read about it on page 81 of this very detailed document, here.
PS I've now been told the joke and it's not that offensive. Weak, but hardly a hate crime.
Friday, January 12, 2007
CALLING SOMEONE 'SON' - Especially policeman but even saying it to kids makes you the man.
DRINKING UP - Specifically, rising from the table, slinging your coat on and downing two thirds of a pint in one fluid movement. Then nodding towards the door, saying, "Let's go" and striding out while everyone else struggles to catch up with you. God, you're hard.
NODDING AT COPPERS - A moments eye contact is all it takes for you to share the unspoken bond. "We've not seen eye to eye in the past", it says, "but someone's got to keep the little scrotes in line".
ARRIVING IN A PUB LATE... and everyone cheers you. It doesn't mean you're popular, it just means your mates are pissed. However, the rest of the pub doesn't know that.
NOT WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT - fat is a feminist issue, apparently. Brilliant. Pass the pork scratchings.
CARVING THE ROAST - and saying "are you a leg or breast man" to the blokes and "do you want stuffing" to the women. Congratulations, you are now your dad.
TEST SWINGING HAMMERS - ideally, B&Q would have little changing rooms with mirrors so you could see how rugged you look with any DIY item. Until then, we'll make do with the aisles.
PHONE CALLS THAT LAST LESS THAN A MINUTE - unlike birds, we get straight to the point. "alright? Yep. Drink? Red lion? George, it is then. Seven. Seeya."
HAVING SOMETHING PROPERLY WRONG WITH YOU - especially if you didn't make a fuss. "Why was I off, nothing much, just a brain haemorrhage".
CALLING YOUR MATE A C_*T - and punching him on the shoulder. Just a man's way of saying "you're a good mate; I missed you while you were in hospital".
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
One of the car parks at Stockport train station has a ticketing system that requires you to key in the registration number of your car. I can only guess that this is to prevent people from handing over tickets with time to spare to other people. This is appalling. Surely the net effect of such a random act of kindness adds up to so much more than the few quid the car park operator will ever make from stamping this practice out. I think it's absolutely hateful.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I think it's further evidence of the trend in Manchester restaurants for "upmarket average". Punters are happy with brasserie food and Pinot Grigio by the bucketful. Nothing really special stands out anymore and I'm as guilty as anyone for putting atmosphere and speed over gourmet food.
Secondly, a woman sat next to me and began to apply her make up. She dropped bits occasionally. I didn't like the constant movement, especially when I'm trying to multitask. I was reading a book review about Richard Dawkins in Third Way (a surprisingly good magazine I was sent) and listening to something calming by Nick Drake.
The good news is the train was on time.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
- Best song with fanzines mentioned - Billy Bragg's Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards
- Best football fanzine of its time - Fortunes Always Hiding (West Ham), circa 1989-1990
- Best fanzine capturing a mood of a city - The End, Liverpool mid-1980s
- Best fanzine edited by a future lads mag editor - Attack on Bzag, James Brown, circa 1983
- Best fanzine in Lancaster - Positive Feedback, circa 1983
- Best general North West football fanzine - Hit The Bar, circa 1988
- Best Blackburn Rovers fanzine - Many Miles From Home, circa 1991
- Best day out selling a fanzine - selling MMFH, Grimsby, January 1991
- Best national football fanzine - Off The Ball, mid - 1980s
- Nastiest humour in a fanzine - Scouser and Man City baiting in Red Issue, circa 2002
It doesn't fill me with any kind of nostalgic sadness that it may now fold.
There's a good feature on the BBC magazine site about the demise of Little Chef. The picture used is of the branch on the A6 near Scorton where I used to live. Happier memories of plaice and chips at that one.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Marple traders reported their busiest Christmas ever as shoppers spurned out-of-town retail centres and decided to shop locally.
Marple Business Forum, which represents the leading retailers in the town, says its members were delighted that so many people decided to do their Christmas shopping locally.
It’s a real vote of confidence in the town,” said Marple Business Forum chairman Paul Whatmough, who runs a menswear shop on Market Street.
“We increased our sales significantly over the Christmas period. In fact in the week before Christmas our sales were up 30 per cent compared to the same period the previous year. Many of our retail members have been reporting similar sales success stories.”
The ambitious Christmas lights pulled in more shoppers to Marple this year, but Paul believes it was the convenient car parking and the wide range of shops that were the main factors in the upturn in Christmas trade.
“Shoppers decided to avoid the hassle of queues and crowds at out-of-town centres and opted instead for the convenience of shopping locally,” he said. “Thanks to the wide range of shops, including high street names and specialist shops, people found they could do all their Christmas shopping right here in Marple. There was a real buzz on Market Street and Stockport Road all through the festive period.”
I'm pleased about this, there are plenty of really good shops in the centre now and the atmosphere before Christmas was superb. I particularly enjoyed a cake and hot chocolate, with all the kids, in Toast deli on Market Street.
Music Zone, based in Stockport, has gone into administration. I know a few of the people involved on all sides and whatever the detail or the manner of the demise is, the bottom line remains: selling cheap CDs is a tough trade. I'm gutted for Steve Oliver, the MD, who struck me as a sound bloke.
TVR in Blackpool has quite clearly been ransacked by a Russian oligarch. Appalling.
Monday, January 01, 2007
I am full of admiration for successful business people who put something back. Peter has also set up HUGS, Helping Uganda Schools, a charity to help kids in Uganda. You can find out more about it here. Please support it.
As a general rule I don't talk to footballers. Nothing personal, but the support I give them on the pitch doesn't confer any higher status on them as human beings. Grown men of my age fawning over inarticulate lads in their 20s is slightly embarrassing. I have nothing to say and nothing to offer except politeness. But then I'm not 7, or 6, or 2.