19 Apr 2012

On me 'ead....

This is not a dream, it actually happened today...

Perambulating homewards I espy two 10 year old(ish) lads playing football in the street, on the opposite pavement. One of them makes to leather the ball back to his mate, slices it, up it goes and coming down narrowly misses a passing car, bounces, its trajectory now heading directly to me. For some mad reason I'm 10 years old again, so as it comes down I half-volley it on my instep, and it travels in a straight line right back into the arms of the taller of the two lads on t'other side of the road. Jeez, it could have gone anywhere! What was I thinking?

"Wicked" sez tall lad..."You play football?" "Yeah, many many years ago" I lie, digging being cool wid da kidz. "Who you support?" he says, standing there in his Barca shirt. Oh gawd I think, I'll bet he follows Man Utd, or much much worse, t'Shite. I'm in for some ridicule now. "Everton" sez I. He grins, whoops and hollers and amazingly says "Wow, me too" AND he high fives me! His little mate says "I'm Millwall, you bought Tim off us." Amazing! Two kids who support real teams, not a glory hunter in sight, although technically supporting Liverpool can't be classed as that nowadays. Whodathunkit?!

Anyone who gets on their moral high horse and bemoans the fact that the likes of Barclays Bank and Vodafone and sundry other huge corporations get away with paying far too little tax, albeit legally, should think again next time they hit "Checkout" on Amazon.co.uk

Registered in Luxembourg, the UK branch of Amazon does not pay too little tax here. No siree, for it pays NO TAX AT ALL claiming that its operations here are merely distribution as all of its trade takes place in Luxembourg. HMRC are currently contesting this, eager to get their hands on millions if not billions of potential backdated tax.

Not only that but Amazon is directly responsible for the demise of independent book shops and CD shops. So next time you buy a CD or a book, pay a wee bit extra with a UK based seller. I'm as guilty as anyone, but it's time for a boycott methinks!

Mucho JHB tomorrow - woohoo!

15 Apr 2012

From the Slough of Despond

I have avoided the internet since returning home from Phill's yesterday afternoon with a coal-black cloud hanging over me following Everton's meek Wembley capitulation to probably the worst Liverpool team and manager since the Souness era. I have also not watched any TV news or MotD, so all of this is without meeja influence.

Since the start of the week when I was optimistic of our chances of overturning a hoodoo against Liverpool in cup semi finals and finals that stretches back to 1906 would you believe, I slowly but inexorably became more and more pessimistic, a mood change that often accompanies approaching derby games. Arriving at Phill's some ten or so minutes prior to kick off you could have powered the TV from from my nerve endings, such was my charged state. As the game kicked off and despite Liverpool's initial gung-ho attitude, it soon became apparent that the blue team were the only group of players on the pitch who seemed to know what "team" actually meant. Liverpool looked like they had only just met each other and we slowly but surely gained the upper hand with an unsettling ease - optimism does not sit well with us Toffees.

Then a classic "to me, to you" moment between Carragher (couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke) and Agger let in Cahill, and there was only going to be one outcome once he had passed it to Jelavic. Woohoo! We were 1-0 up, looking the better team, and had we upped our game and taken it to them we could and indeed should have all but sealed the game before half time, but it wasn't to be as we seemed strangely reticent even after going a goal up. This can only be a result of the manager's defensive temperament taking over, as you can't imagine any team 'Arry manges going into their shell after taking a lead, can you?

Come the second half you knew that Liverpool would come out all guns blazing and this is what happened and this is also where the psychological hold they have over us came into play. Our key players were all disappearing, Baines never getting forward, Fellaini wandering about looking lost and Cahill invisible. To cap it all our most consistent defender of the season then gifted that dreadful excuse for a human being that is Luis Suarez with the simplest of goals and it was 1-1. Despite Phill's assurances that we would still win, I knew that there was only one team winning this game and it wasn't us.

By now Andy Carroll, the £3.5 million player for whom Comolli mistakenly moved the decimal point before signing the cheque, had missed a couple of sitters, to much derision from Phill, although I kept fairly quiet as I knew what was coming, and it duly did. Taking on the role of Moses, where Distin and Heitinga were the Red Sea, The Lummox rose like an overweight ballet dancer to Bellamy's corner, and even he couldn't miss the target. 2-1, game over, I went home.

In conclusion, I can only say that due to their performance in the second half and in particular the last 15 minutes, Liverpool deserved to win, and that is the fault of one person alone. We lost this match because David Moyes does not know how to attack a game when we've taken the lead, and this uncertainty translates itself to to the team. Although defending a 1-0 lead might work against West Brom and their ilk, it ain't going to work against a team like Liverpool, crap as they may be. He is also incapable of the psychological man-management that would get rid of a jinx that has gone on for far too long against our beloved neighbours.

About the only good thing you can say is that at least Liverpool cannot come up against a defence as generous as ours was in the final...ah...unless Spurs win this afternoon.

Right, I'm off to punch some walls.

6 Apr 2012

Bath full of offal

This week, mainly on Harriet's recommendation but partly to satisfy curiosity, Phill and I went to the Olde England pub for our traditional Thursday night beer. Highly praised by H and other friends this is a charming if somewhat strange hostelry. What used to be a Victorian house on a corner is now a pub serving up to ten real ales, loads of fruit wines and liqueurs and real ciders, the clincher being the legend "No lager sold here" on the door! Suits me, sir.

There are two floors both the size of a medium sized living room given over to large wooden tables and chairs. What may once have been a second bedroom upstairs has been partitioned into the loos which hold one person at a time only, although they have managed to have separate facilities for gents and ladies, and the bar which is basically a serving hatch, again with room for one person at a time. It didn't take long for queues to form.

As for the ambience, it's a great little place. With no jukebox or fruit machine, or TV, you have to...engage in conversation, remember that? As you are sat round a large table you'd have to be a complete misanthrope to not at least acknowledge the presence of the strangers you are sat near, and soon enough Phill and I were chatting to Emma & John from Leeds, who were playing Scrabble. If you know us two, you can imagine what happened next, and apologies to our new friends, but we kind of took over their game, Phill assisting Emma and me John, who kept telling me he felt completely out of his depth, heheh. After struggling to start with Team J&R triumphed by the end. Wahey! Checking later it seems Phill and I contributed a word each that...ahem....do not actually exist, even in the rarefied upper atmospheres of Scrabble Genius. What is it folk say about smartarses?

We'll certainly be going back there, that's for sure, maybe with a less cavalier attitude to the dictionary, oh, and the beer is amazingly cheap too!

Farcebook, we all love it don't we? So far I have not been frogmarched into the virtual torture chamber that is Timeline, and so I still see the fun targeted advertising down the right side of my News Feed page. Today I have all the usual gubbins advertising everything from mobile phones (I've just got a new one), music festivals (well, obvious really), Internet browsers (more tallying to burgeoning nerd factor no doubt), to Daz Soap Club (what on earth is that, and how do they know I wash? And we prefer Persil in our house, so there). Stuck at the bottom of the list is one tagged "Boyfriends wanted" purportedly from a girls' dating agency that bravely chose to call itself "Plenty Of Fish". Oh dear....

At work I occasionally like to have some background music and Wednesday's choice was Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. For those of you old enough, that's "Rrrrrimmmsssky Kkkoorrrrsakov" - ask your mum or your dad. Anyway here's the link:


Obviously I don't watch the video but occasionally check a look to see how far in we are, and at around 22:30 minutes in I noticed the guy in the audience in the blue T-shirt appeared to be asleep. In fact if you fast forward to 23 minutes, he's well away. I'm sure we've all been guilty of similar behaviour, and my soma inducing environment of choice used to be the theatre, which I've not been to for years as it always saw me fighting with creeping unconsciousness, despite the too small and very uncomfortable seating that Shoesville's Art Deco theatre offered at the time. Now I'm 200 years older I just know I'd be out like a light probably even before the safety curtain has gone up.

The idea of me taking exercise is about as unlikely as finding a chin in a Tory cabinet, but noticing my girth expanding slowly but surely and my weight going ever upwards I decided to download a pedometer app (ooh you trendy so-and-so) on to my new-fangled mobile telephonic and computing device that goes by the unfortunate name of "AccuPedo" - Sun readers could easily get confused. They probably used the same marketing guy who came up with "Plenty Of Fish". Anyways, the mythical target for those who "pedo" (ahem) is 10000 steps a day. Sounds a lot and it is, about 4¾ miles at my stride length. I walk to and from work every day, which it turns out is just over 5500 steps, leaving me 4500 steps to tread before the calories I burn up exceeds the amount I shovel in to any worthwhile extent.

In order to achieve this I have been taking ever more circuitous routes to work but I still have not hit the target. At this rate I'm going to have to get a bus to the next town and walk home.

Now, where's that Crunchie?