Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Quarterly Review

I was going to write something about how depressing the Fulham and (particularly) the West Brom games were but I looked at this video compilation and things didn't seem so bad anymore. Ask me again how I feel after the FA cup game against Wigan on Friday and Burnley in the Carling Cup semi next Tuesday. Nervous new year everyone!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Biscuit

One thing I liked about the German market was the stall that sold giant heart shaped biscuits. They did a good job with the top two in the picture below. 'I love you' and 'I need you' seem more than appropriate things to say to the object of your affections whether it's your partner or even the biscuit itself. The bottom one though smacks of desperation. I can't help thinking it's something that was lost in translation. I can't for the life of me imagine a scenario where you're about to lose the one you love and, having previously amassed a range of biscuits with messages for all eventualities, rummage in the kitchen draw and with an anguished look present her with one that says 'Please stay with me'.
'Well I wasn't going to,' she says, 'but since you're giving me a biscuit...'

it reminded me of this Walker Brothers song.

Vinter Vunderland

They say that during the war people were encouraged to confront suspected fifth columnists and German parachutists with the phrase 'What's the weather like in Wimbledon?' If the response was something like 'Ze vether in vimbledon ist vunderbar!' then you had yourself a spy and could legitimately stab him with your pitchfork or sweep him to death with your broom handle made to look like a rifle.

It seems though that the crafty hun have had the last laugh by fleecing the whole of London (and I include my good friend Dame Judi Dench in that) at a glorified fun fair. The icing on the Christmas cake was their choice of 'Winter Wonderland' as the title of the event.

I have to say that the lights, the smell of bratwust & mulled wine and the waterside location did make it feel quite cosy if you were able to blot out the four zillion people, the surly German versions of sell-your-grandmother-for-a-pack-of-fags fairground types operating the rickety rides and ever-present 'kerrrching' of German cash registers. The big wheel, for example, looked lovely as you can see below. Unfortunately the queue stretched to the Embankment where it got enmeshed with the queue for the London Eye. They're still trying to untangle it.

The best thing was Grosse Irrgarten which, as well as being attractive by the sheer force of the romance of the German language used to name it, also had all those things you used to get at fairgrounds and places like Southend and Margate in the days before kids had to be bubble wrapped when playing with an inflatable hammer.

Somehow it seems they managed to avoid the usual H & S regs and it was absolutely brilliant. I went on with best mate's son. There was blood everywhere! Kids with heads tilted back to stem the flow, teenagers with their arms bent the wrong way and small girls blubbing like even smaller girls all made the £4 entry fee worth every penny(though it should be noted that best made paid). The mirror maze was the most lethal. I saw at least three kids run face first into plate glass. I took a tumble on the wheel thing that you have to run through but it was still worth the bruised hip and ignominy.

I read a short story in a science fiction anthology once about a guy who tests imports from a distrusted planet. He spends weeks looking at this intricate game looking to see if it formed a bomb or something. Meanwhile the innocuous board game that had no mechanical parts was deemed safe and released to the public. Little did he realise though that the mechanical toy was a distractor and the board game taught children how to lose all their money and generally do bad things to society, presumably so that it'd sweep the world and the people from the dodgy planet could take over. Well, my friend, look at the signs: economy in disarray and Hyde Park full of Germans. They tried it with guns but now it's much more insidious. You haf been varned.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

bored

So I come down to the south so that I can see my mum and other assorted family members for my birthday. However, Strictly Bum Dancing is on. All night. My grandad was looking forward to it when I left his house. Do not disturb signs appeared on doors from Plymouth to somewhere further north than where I live.

'We just want to catch the final, sorry,' said mum. The bloody programme has been on since I got here and it's nearly Match of the Day time. Normally I would phone my girl but, guess what, she's watching Shitely Cum Dancing too.

Best mate phoned from his seasonal visit to his parents. He's bored and in bed already because his whole family is glued to spackly come drossing.

I don't understand how the whole nation can be glued to this and apparently the only two people it has passed by are me and best mate. No wonder we're friends. No-one else wants to talk to us because of the absence of key TV in our water cooler speak repertoire.

I think it's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Well a bit like it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

New Ground


Well that didn't take long. I'm looking forward to seeing this at the Fulham game. I'm a bit worried about the transport infrastructure to be honest. It's hard enough to park at the moment. Sometimes we dump the car up there at 11ish the go off and do the pub lunch thing. This helps us make a quick getaway to the north. We still get home very late and if it's a 4pm kick off on a Sunday then we don't get home till midnight which means that school the next day is tough for both me and the boy.
If City of Manchester stadium is anything to go by the car parking will be crap and they'll increase the restrictions in the whole area.
The train has always been a rubbish option and I can't see how they'll improve it to accommodate the extra 15-25,ooo people White Hart Lane will get.
I was reading the other day that unlike other football grounds White Hart Lane was never offcially named- it was just the name that caught on. Man City fans still sing about being from Maine Road. I hope we can follow their example and just insist on calling it WHL rather that the Pepsi Arena or whatever. After all, everyone still recognises that les Arses play at the Library.

Monday, 15 December 2008

All that effort...

...and the artist makes a fatal error with the design. This statue is in China apparently. (Don't tell Paul Gadd)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The incredible shrinking striker

Poor Robbie Keane. Benitez was interviewed last night about the rumours that Keano would be coming back to the lane in January having been a monumental flop so far this season at 'pool. To say that Benitez was less than effusive in his assurnace that keane would stay would be a massive understatement.

I always enjoyed a bit of a josh at his expense with cheap gags about leprachauns and the like but judging by this picture he's actually turning into one. I'm sure he wasn't that short last year. Or maybe it's Benitez who is growing comensurate with Liverpool's success. If they win the league he'll be like the giant doughy man at the end of Ghostbusters. If you stare at the picture long enough it actually looks like he's expanding.

I'd welcome him back just so that I could do my crappy irish accent again and my son could wear his 'Keane' shirt.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Reds help blues

I have spent the last three days marking work. Each assessment takes about 40 mins or so to do and I have done 30. It doesn't sound like much at a rate of ten a day but, believe me, it takes it out of you. My wrist is stuck in a funny position, my back aches and I am now convinced that 90% of the trainees I work with get pleasure from deliberately ignoring basic instructions.


I was just finishing off the last of the typing this afternoon and was feeling strangely melancholic. I was expecting a surge of euphoria but it felt more like the feeling I get when I have a lie in. Disappointingly un-refreshing or energising. I listened to the footy on the radio while I did this and was buoyed by most of the results which were favourable to Spurs' still precarious position.


The Carling Cup semi draw to Burnley hadn't cheered me up though I think I'd have been sceptical of our chances even if by some quirk in the rules Man U had been booted out, Women's Institute XI had replaced them and we'd drawn them with the first leg at the Lane the same night that nice Bruce Forsyth was on the telly talking about jam.


The only result I didn't approve of was Les Arses jammy (I knew there was a WI link there somewhere) 1-0 over Wigan at the new library. However, listening to the reports it seems that the fickle so called supporters were booing their own players. Even when they'd won! They then went on the 606 talk in to justify their position. I started to feel a little cheered by this.


It got me thinking about how we get on players' backs at the lane. Last season Bent got a lot of stick and his nervousness showed. This season the whole crowd have been biting their nails every time the ball went anywhere near Gomez. This tension was obviously rubbing off on him but then a strange thing happened...


At some point opposing fans started to tease our big cry baby keeper and we went all defensive. 'We love you Gomez, we do..' started to be heard. No sooner had we got behind the man with the biggest and butteriest fingers in England (couldn't include Scotland in this for obvious reasons) started looking super confident, even getting a man of the match award! Then, even funnier, David James did his comedy pass out in the UEFA cup mid week and even more spotlights turn away.


Anyway, these thoughts and the cheery warm feeling I got from hearing Les Culs de Woolwich stressing themselves out made me realise that the secret to contentment and a return from the edge of the Abyss of Glumness was to look at some of my favourite photos:

Nayim from the half way line...


Iz no fair
" if you don't stop mucking about they'll beat us 5-1. Oh and smell my finger"

Heck, they didthis next one is the league table of noisy fans. Posted on the 606 message board by an arse**l fan!
Edward munch night in a south London pub


Friday, 5 December 2008

Eid al-Adha

It took me while to understand how there could be two eids; and so close together! When I discovered that eid just means 'festival' or 'celebration' it made more sense too. To non Muslims it seems counter intuitive that the eid that happens on Monday(al-Adha) is often called 'big' eid (and, in fact, this is how it's commonly known in a lot of south Asia and north Africa) when the one most people in the UK are familiar with is the al-Fitr (little eid). The 'bigness' has as much (I think) to do with the length of the event as to the meaning behind the celebration. al-Adha lasts up to four days and the other, al-Fitr (marking end of fasting in Ramadan) lasts up to three. If my students attendance is anything to go by, there are pockets of Muslims in Bradford who celebrate even bigger eids lasting about two weeks on both occasions.


Al-Ahda is the sacrifice celebration where Ibrahim's devotion was tested by his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael. This parallels the Judeo-Christian story of Abraham and Isaac. In both, of course, the son is saved though lambs all over the world let out a collective whimper.
Along with the reminder that this very important event is rooted in the same story shared by the other monotheistic faiths is the importance of the principle of sharing of the slaughtered lamb with family, friends, the poor, Muslims and non-Muslims. At the heart of Christmas there still sits that altruistic ethos, sometimes lost amongst the cheesy songs, coloured lights and excess spending but, all the same, the focal point of the celebration. Likewise, the whole point of eid can be subsumed by the new clothes and, inexplicably (in Tower Hamlets at least), the urge to hire an expensive car and hang out of the window getting all patriotic.

Anyway,I'm not sure what my point is but I would, though, like to wish everyone:

Thursday, 4 December 2008

yey...

..I got my Internet back. I can now do all that academic research again. I caught a bit of women's under 21 world cup the other night while flicking through the sports channels. It was Germany versus Brazil and I saw two goals. The first was the kind of goalie fumble that enables people to take the piss out of the women's game but, to be honest, Gomez has done a lot worse at Spurs this season. The German equalizer was well taken and worked though. Having said that, it didn't sustain my interest enough to watch more or even find out who won. In fact, the only reason I watched for more than a few minutes is because of this woman: Leah. And, before I get it in the neck, it's the throw that captivated me; nothing else!




Rory Delap eat your heart out.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

In 12 days

I sometimes wonder (like most people I guess) whether I'm making the most of my life. I often reach the conclusion that there's so much more I could be doing, espcially when I have one of those evening where I flick channels on the TV from one crappy American programme to another. I haven't been able to post these last 12 days because I have moved house and switching on a phone line that was previously active apparently takes 2 weeks and 6o quid's worth of effort.



When I look back at the last 12 days I can't believe what I have done. Now I wonder how I ever manage to even think about being idle let alone actually being idle. In addition to the usual stuff like work and eating food and cleaning things I have managed to squeeze in the following:

  • moved house- with help of friends but all in the car
  • all that annoying address change stuff with gas, electric
  • bought a fridge, picked it up and installed it
  • bought a tv and other unnecessary electronic gadgets, unpacked them, drowned in packaging and then wasted hours playing games and watching movies
  • watched Spurs lose to Fulham then beat Blackburn
  • spent day in Manchester at a deaf awareness conference
  • had my girl stay over and best mate spent a few days (being ill mostly)
  • did stuff with the boy (though this mostly overlapped with playing games and watching movies)
  • assembled furniture and the like
  • broke a few things to make new place look more like all my old places

So, when all's said and done, my life is at least full if not always fulfilling

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Weetabix Stadium

Don't you just know we're going to get some crappy, embarrassing name if the stadium name gets put up for auction. From the Spurs website:


Club confirms naming rights opportunity at new stadium
Daniel Levy, the Club's Chairman, yesterday confirmed that a naming rights partner would be sought to support the financing of plans for our proposed new Stadium.
"It's a necessary and critical component of financing a modern football stadium," confirmed Daniel during a round of media interviews at White Hart Lane yesterday afternoon. We are well aware of the history and great affection our fans have for White Hart Lane but our plans involve us moving to a completely new Stadium and if you want progress, things do have to change."

Likely outcomes:

McDonald's Stadium
Mcvities Stadium
Armitage Shanks Stadium
Durex Stadium

Acceptable outcome:

White Hart Lane (and nothing else!)

More on the development: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/futureplans/scheme.html#

Public consultation document: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/uploads/assets/docstore/Booklet_Web.pdf They claim the transport infrastructure is already there! I think Levy needs to catch a bus once in a while.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Man City 1 Spurs 2


Woo Hoo. City sang " we've got Robinho", we sang "We've got Darren Bentio".

Friday, 7 November 2008

big girl's blouse

I took the boy to the Stoke game so I wasn't aware of Gomez's manly display until my girl told me about it. I was just flicking through some photos when I came across this one. he really was bawling his eyes out. Is it any wonder we have problems betwen the sticks?

get behind your team

I have absolutely no idea what the heck this picture is all about.

Star Trek Cartoon

Me and the boy have just sat through the first two series of Star Trek (original series). This has happened over a period of weeks; not at one sitting. Now we have run out of episodes to watch I was reminded of the cartoon. Kirk's voice sounds more stilted than ever. I'm supposed to be working but even this crummy animation has distracted me. I thought I'd share that satisfying but nagging sense of time wasted (There's an episode in that phenomena I reckon. The following is a complete episode in 3 parts.







I love the way the music is not quite the Star Trek theme.

Bent and Huddlestone 4 Zagreb 0



Despite Bent's hattrick,Hudd seems to have earnt man of the match. Defence splitting passes, great volley and a week off the pies.

There I was saying that I didn't give a stuff about UEFA and all I wanted was for us to get out the relegation zone and now I'm getting all excited about Europe again.

Stereotypes

I know I made a cheap gag about Liverpool getting robbed on Saturday but sometimes I gawk (is that even a word?) at the way people reinforce stereotypes of themselves. If there's one thing that's guaranteed to make it into the press it's the burglary of footballers' houses while they're playing. This from football 365:

LUCAS THE LATEST LIVERPOOL PLAYER TO BE BURGLED
Posted 07/11/08
Lucas Leiva has reportedly become the eighth Liverpool player to be burgled while playing for the club in the last two years.
According to The Independent, the midfielder arrived home after Tuesday's match with Atletico Madrid to discover that the Olympic bronze medal he won in Beijing this summer had been stolen, along with Brazil and Liverpool shirts.
"Taken from the address was an amount of jewellery and some very distinctive football and
sports memorabilia. These items have significant personal importance to Mr Leiva and they were associated with some very cherished memories" confirmed . Acting Detective Chief Inspector Peter Parry of Merseyside police.
The Brazilian youngster is just the latest in a long line of Liverpool players to suffer such an opportunistic crime.
Since 2006, Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Robbie Keane, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Peter Crouch and Jerzy Dudek have all been burgled while on playing duty.


When Robbie Keane was burgled I think they stole his leprachaun magic goal scoring potion (that irish stereotype is part of the 'North and South' buy one get one free policy)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Undercover Elephant

Arsene Wenger has been scraping the barrel of excuses this week for les Arses' poor showing midweek and even worse performance at Stoke at the weekend. I think I have found a contributory factor. It seems that underperforming boy wonder, Theo Walcott, has been moonlighting in a style that would impress Hong Kong Fooey. Even so, he only just scraped in at the last moment in the Brazilian Grand Prix and, if he rests on his laurels too much, he may find McCain pipping him at the post tomorrow.
The question is which is the real person and which are alter egos?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

1 wooden telly please!

Me and the boy killed a bit of time on Saturday mooching around Currys and the like. In one of them we came across this TV made of wood. The photo doesn't really do justice to how cheap and tacky this looks. I can't imagine anyone thinking that it looks stylish. It looks like someone has cobbled it together themselves because they couldn't afford a real one. I made a TV out of a cardboard box when I was a kid and it looked better than this.


scousers robbed

Hudd congratulates Pav on his injury time winner at the Lane yesterday while Hutton rehearses for the remake of the thriller video. This game was 70 minutes torture, 20 minutes hope and 2 minutes rapturous disbelief. Of course we didn't deserve it but that made the celbrations that much sweeter. Harry's done some pottering for sure.
Anyhow, enough of the tabloidese; Spurs were outplayed for large parts of this game but the spirit to play to the whistle two matches running is something not seen for a long time. We got wet sat right at the front of the Shelf, we got crushed celebrating the winner (just like the old days) and it was bloody freezing but we didn't care. On top of that Stoke showed Les Arses up, Van Persie got sent off for committing the comedy foul of the season and we got seats on the train!



Thursday, 30 October 2008

crowing caught in the home fans' throats

The line above is from the Guardian match report on last night's game. Beyond that, words can't really describe so let's have some pictures. Bentley lobs Almunia from 40 yards

Hutton and Corluka chase Bentley. Don't know why Hutton is smiling- he gifted les Arses 2 of their goals
Another mistake by Almunia lets in Bent to make it 3-2. Almunia's woeful performance is eclipsed only by our own keeper's ineptitude.

Jenas celebrates the fact that he's rubbish unless we're playing Ar**nal. Below is proof of this odd characteristic.


Celebrations after Lennon's last second equaliser to make it 4-4 with a fan that had run on to the pitch. What's disturbing is the fan is a dead ringer for Steed Malbranque. Sunderland may be doing OK but once a Spur, always a Spur it seems.
It's not so much Lennon wheeling away here that I like but the shell shocked looks on the faces of Les Arses in the background.



Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Ramos

Last year when Martin Jol was sacked during the game aganst Getafe and the whole ground stood up and sang 'stand up for Martin Jol' not even the most thick skinned, heavily tattoed Spurs fan avoided at least a slight welling up. When it was annmonced that Ramos was going I thought good, let's move on. Then I read this from Ramos' personal website and I feel all emotional again. It's not so much the body of the text but the bit at the end. Cheers Ramos.


Dear Friend,
Part of the greatness of football means accepting the rules of a sporting event that is quite simply a game.
After almost 20 years in this profession, I know all the unwritten rules of football, which is why I accept the decision made by the bosses at Tottenham Hotspur. Now it is simply time to say goodbye and thank you.
Coincidently, it is exactly one year ago today that I first entered the world of English football, and it is today that I say goodbye and thank you to you all.
We joined the team, filled with enthusiasm, when they were in the relegation zone, in a similar situation to the one they are in at the moment. We had a good start and got to the middle of the League table. As well as this, we also qualified for Europe, which had seemed like an almost impossible task. It took great a effort on behalf of the whole team but we achieved out goal despite the difficulties.
We also managed to win a Cup after nine years without success, which brought immense joy to the team and the fans. For this reason we can say that the season was a tremendously successful one.
During the summer we had quite a difficult pre-season due to the changes in the team, which meant that we couldn’t work as calmly as a pre-season requires. Some of the new players were very young, and despite their quality they needed time to adapt and mature, which unfortunately the intensity of the competition hasn’t allowed them to do yet.
When Robbie Keane and Berbatov left the club, it had a huge effect on the team as they were key players with regard to tactics, goal scoring abilities and also as team mates they had an important influence. All this has led to a situation which I hope will change as soon as possible because the Club and the fans deserve success.
First of all, I want to tell the Spurs fans how grateful I am for the way they have treated me. Thank you for your support, respect and kindness, and even for your constructive criticism. You have made me feel very happy for many months and I am only sorry not to have been able to offer you more magical evenings like the one at Wembley last February. You have always been with the team and I thank you for unconditional support.
I would also like to send a special message to all the people who work at the Club. The family that is Tottenham Hotspur; you are the people who make it all possible. You have treated me excellently, both on a professional and personal level, I send you my eternal gratitude and affection.
Lastly, I want to thank Tottenham and the Directors for giving me this opportunity to fulfil my dream. I had always wanted to coach a Club in England - the home of football – to feel the emotion and live the experience of the Premier League.
Thank you all, goodbye, and TO DARE IS TO DO…COME ON YOU SPURS!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Re: post below

...just in case you're thinking that this noise thing (in the post below) is a new phenomenon and Spurs position is a one off : http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/article.html?in_article_id=73059&in_page_id=43

Post script 28th Oct: Just seen this in the Mirror. Wenger's been having a go at the Asenal fans again. Seems he's blaming it on the recession this time! http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2008/10/24/arsene-wenger-attacks-quiet-arsenal-fans-for-making-emirates-new-library-115875-20834046/

Normally I'd hide a long URL like that but there's something poetic about the wording of it. Can you hear the Arsenal sing? No! No.... etc.


12th man

Spurs fans describe the Emirates as 'the library'. This worked slightly better when the arses played at Highbury but the suggestion of silence irritates them for sure. We know they don't sing much because it's hard to when you're downstairs eating the almost proverbial corporate prawn sandwich so really they can't be blamed. Layer on top of that the number of fee paying clients from overseas in the pricey seats who have yet to master the offside rule let alone songs in a foreign language. I happened upon this though in the paper yesterday. It says it all really. Les Arses not even in the top ten. They're somewhere below Boro which is, frankly, very very embarrassing. Spurs are a creditable second in the decibel chart. Most of that is me and the boy, by the way as we are embarrassingly noisy.


Me and the boy were up at Stoke last Sunday and they really do crank up the volume sometimes. I'd still say we sang more and for longer but the noise when they did get going was impressive. So, despite all our woes and all the mockery, Spurs fans are doing the team proud. When you think about it, it's the only thing you can do as a supporter. The jibes about the team's quality are hollow and meaningless when they come from some lard arse waste of space who's done nothing more than shovel pies and pints down his throat all his miserable life. Jibes about the other team's 12th man are the only ones that count in my book. This is probably why two of Spurs' favourite chants are 'is that all you take away?' (referring to the number of empty seats in the small away section at the Lane) and 'shall we sing a song for you? (to the same tune, so no points for creativity).

Amusingly, Bolton only had about 100 fans at the Lane yesterday and this is after Bolton provided FREE transport to London. The only song they sang was about their manager Gary Megson and how he pleasures himself (not quite in those words). How must that make the team feel? Team captain is heard to shout: 'Come on lads, listen to those forty fat blokes telling the boss he's crap... what more motivation do you need?'

Stoke's football style seems to be something like this: kick the ball down either wing, hope it's cleared for a throw in, get Rory Delap to throw it really really hard into the penalty area. They've scored three times from that method this season but teams are gradually wising up. I think they'll need something more than that and the 12th man if they're to survive. At the game against Man City yesterday the City fans were singing:


We've got Robinho
You've got the long throw

The only thing that let Stoke down really was their crap attempt at a 'United against racism' message. Nothing wrong with the sentiment and you could travel a long time before coming a cross such large sections of overtly racist fans (and that was from the mouth of one of their stewards) but the organisation of the coloured cards was embarrassing. No point in me describing it; have a look at the shambles for yourself:

Going back to my original point: you often hear opposing fans singing 'You only sing when you're winning' to each other. Considering Spurs have only been winning once this entire season, that's a charge that can never be levelled their fans.

Jokes

Being a football supporter with your colours tied firmly to this mast or that always leaves you with strong likelihood that you'll be on the receiving end of some banter when your team is losing. Of course this doesn't apply to most Man Yoo fans a) because Man Yoo win all the time and b) The 'fans' don't suffer the banter because most of these hard core red devils live not in Manchester but in Brighton, Kent, Oulan Bator, Ouagadougou etc.

We all know of people that support Man Yoo, Les Arses or EhEhPool because they're nothing but glory hunters. Lately of course they have shifted their attention to Chelski. I think I have described before how my future brother in law used to be Blackburn (coincidentally when they won the league) and now (it be magic for sure) finds himself a season ticket holder at Stamford Bridge. Who knows who he'll support next year but Hull are looking like a good bet.

There's something noble about taking the jokes on the chin when your team's doing badly. The jokes this last few weeks have been coming thick and fast. Thank God we've got beyond two points so that I can stop hearing the 3 points for speeding and the triangle joke. Even my mum pulled a collection of Spurs jokes out of her bag when we visited at the weekend!

Anyway, to prove that we are nobler and stronger than these 'plastic' fans here is the Guardian's collection. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/oct/21/tottenham-hotspur-jokes Most of them are recycled but some are actually quite funny.

To balance things up a bit I offer two Arses jokes:

Why do people take an instant dislike to Arsenal ? It saves time.

You're trapped in a room with a tiger, a rattlesnake, and an Arsenal Fan. You have a gun with two bullets. What should you do?Shoot the Arsenal Fan. Twice.

Honesty

Biggest laugh of the day yesterday was at half time. Paul Miller (number 3 in the picture below) came on as special guest. He was asked what he thought about the new appointment. Up to that point the club had been talking diplomatically about Ramos' 'departure' like he'd decided he actually felt more like a stroll somewhere in England's autumnal splendour than turn up for a day's work disorganising the team. (In fact he'd been handed a brown envelope containing 4 million quid, his unused 'My first Spanish/ English dictionary' and a one way Easyjet ticket to Seville).

Anyhow, Miller steps up to the mike and, deciding to pick his words carefully in front of 36 thousand people, says: " I'm just glad we've got a proper manager at last."

Well said Paul.

Ugly manager's blue and white army!

It's been so long I think half of us at WHL had forgotten how to celebrate. I took my grandad to yesterday's game. He may be 84 but the victory is obviously less to do with the sacking of Ramos and the appointment of Redknapp than my Grandad's talismanic presence at the lane. I can't get tickets for Wednesday's game at "the library" but I have already arranged for a bus to transport grandad down there and to have him superglued to the walls. I think that should be near enough for his influence to rub off.

Even though this is from the torygraph, it's a sensible article and you can watch the highlights of the game in the adjacent video bar. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/tottenham/3264159/Harry-Redknapp-makes-instant-impact-at-Tottenham-Hotspur-Football.html

COYS!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Graham Roberts + quiz! + happier times

He was always a bit of a hero to me when I was a lad. Teeth knocked out by his own player in a cup final; scores crucial goals in UEFA cup; not afraid to put a tough challenge in, motivator of the rest of the team and LOVES Spurs. These are the qualities that aren't there with the current lot. Only Ledley King has anything like those qualities. I really don't care if Robbo wasn't as 'technically gifted' as any of these blokes now; I'd sooner have him any day of the week.


It turns out that Robbo offered his services as defensive coach to Spurs this weekend but he was snubbed. Not only that, he offered his services for free! The decision not to take him up on the offer is just the latest in a catalogue of laugh-or-you'll-cry errors.


Anyway, back in 1981 when Ossie went to Wembley with trembley legs Robbo was at his best. Here's a picture of him with a few other famous faces. Can you name all the players in this photo?


I was at that game. If you look closely you can probably see me peering out from the upper shelf with a silk Spurs scarf tied to each wrist. I seem to remember we lost that game and one of the goals (actually being scored in this picture) was put in by....

Friday, 17 October 2008

No offence

This headline: Holocaust denial accused intended no offence, extradition hearing told caught my eye in the news bar so I went off and read a report that told me virtually nothing beyond what it says in the headline. The 'intended no offence' bit was the part that made me wince most. The only thing more cowardly than the sort of assault that deniers make on the millions that died is their attempted worming when faced with a challenge.

Once the irritation of that abated I looked up the guy involved: Frederick Toben. Turns out he's pretty hard core in terms of holocaust denial. He's an Australian-German who founded the Adelaide Institute which at first glance seems to be another collection of anti Semitic nutters. Toben, like David Irving, has also collected a whole bunch of qualifications and uses this in part to veil his prejudice. Toben has done time already for breaching Germany's holocaust denial laws and publishes articles on a website that is, frankly, re-assuring. The lack of technical expertise in its construction and the nauseating colour scheme seem to suggest that the ranks of followers don't even extend to one web savvy geek. (Have a look here but don't waste time reading any of the crap please- unless of course you want to see what utter bollocks this bloke is touting). Incidentally, by calling him a denier and an antisemite I am, in Tobin's own words an intellectual terrorist: " If you label a person 'antisemitic', then you lose your moral and intellectual integrity, and you become an intellectual terrorist! " The exclamation mark nails that non argument, don't you think?

On the website and without irony he proudly writes of his words written in prison that denying him his viewpoint denied him his humanity. It goes without saying that he clearly down't know what denying someone of their humanity really means.

Having said that...the only discomfort I feel as a consequence of what I hope is his current discomfort is that he was arrested at Heathrow because he has broken a German law. I'm sure it wouldn't take too long for me (and presumably others who would actually welcome a chance to leap to his defence) to find something that would render this decision absurd. In a world of anti terrorism legislation and ever growing infringements on civil liberties I feel that his arrest for something that is not an offence in the UK will lead to notoriety and cause celebre status for him as well as a precedent that could mean potential for arrest of journalists out of step with their governments.

If, on the other hand, he was arrested for being an odious tosser and that is, as a consequence of some ancient and never repealed by-law, an offence then let the bastard rot.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Oh no

Not only am I ill but they have reset my clustermap which told me where in the world people were who stumbled upon this inane twittering. There is an archive though where they keep a small picture of how it looked before re-setting. It looked like this:

AND it's 16th October and Spurs are yet to record a win. We travelling down to Stoke on Sunday. All I can say is their pies better be nice.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Volte face

I have just been reading some message boards about what it was that Spurs fans were singing to Sol Campbell on Sunday. I think I've changed my mind: if it's true then those idiots should be banned for life. I've never liked the racial overtones of the Adebayour song and have had to 'have a chat' with my boy about it a couple of times as well as giving a few scary pissed blokes a bit of a stern glare. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand Sol Campbell. As a banner once said 'we hate you so much because we loved you so much' but some of these songs are way over the top. Banter is fine- vitriolic and intolerant hatred is not. Apparently they're not new songs either. In 2006 the same ones were being sung at WHL. See here for detail: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/feb/08/comment.gdnsport3

Some Spurs supporters are busy arguing that Spurs get abused but this doesn't justify anything.

When I was a kid my step dad used to tell me how the worst song they sung when he was a kid was 'Go home you bums, go home you bums'. Still, if the bloke featured in this article can see what's wrong with this sort of thing then there's hope for us all. Nevertheless, I feel very depressed about it all.

Talking as I was....

...of anagrams in one of the posts below, my mind has been entertained by the following:

The Mighty Spurs = My Highest Spurt
Tottenham Hotspur = Oh them trout pants!
White Hart Lane = Hairnet wealth
Arsene Wenger = Serene wanger


I think I've wasted enough time on this now.

Chitcago

In summary: Bought tickets for Chicago (West End show, not place) for my girl on her birthday. Tube was delayed and after much stressing we made it half hour late. Little did I realise that it was most likely divine intervention trying to prevent the hour and half's torture we still had to endure. The best bit for me was watching my girl clap out of time and the ice cream at half time. I had to slouch so low in my chair that my back was resting on the seat as my backside hovered in mid air.

The only song we can remember now is this one. It actually moved my girl a bit. She said 'aah' in much the same way you would (if you were soppy and a girl) when you get a picture of a cat playing with a mouse but, of course, the mouse is a computer mouse and inboxes all over the office get clogged up while the blokes do proper work like looking up footy scores. The bloke singing it in the stage show was the fat bloke in a lame comedy about another bloke who goes back in time to London in the Blitz (and he was in Only Fools and Horses- the time travelling bloke, not the fat one).



My advice to anyone contemplating going to this: Don't bother; it's cack.

10 reasons to keep the faith

OK...


  • worst start for 53 years
  • Portsmouth are reporting Spurs supporters to the FA, The League of Nations and the United Federation of Planets
  • Spurs 0 wigan 0
  • Ramos is 'homesick' (for crying out loud)
  • bottom of the league
  • overturned Newcassle only to get Liverpool in next round of Carling Cup in which Rafa will play 10 tea ladies and Robbie Keane and he'll score a hatful of goals and pretend not to celebrate
  • Ledley's knee
  • Bale's foot
  • Hutton's arse (or whatever is broken)
  • Dimitar Buggerov
  • £70M later

Despite all this we have to work together and keep a stiff upper lip. White Hart Lane may be beleaguered but all it needs is a visit from the King or Churchill and we'll all start pulling together again. Here are some reasons (of varying quality) why we mustn't lose hope.

1. We don't have ARSE in our name
2. We're not Newcassle
3. We're not West Ham
4. We're eternal optimists
5. DESPITE league position and losing 2-0 all you could hear at Fatton Park was Spurs
6. Our manager doesn't have ARSE in his name. (Granted, Juande Ramos is an anagram of Majored Anus but we'll let that go until he moves back to Seville to be closer to his oranges)
7. Still in Uefa and League cup (hard luck Toffees)
8. Two points is better than minus 19 and bottom of league 2- man you have to feel sorry for the ghost of Eric Morecambe and other Hatters)
9. ...we've got Ledley at the Back so you can etc...
10. errrm..best pitch in the Prem.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Unlikely things

This happened this evening. Not made up.

I live on the first floor. The first unlikely thing this evening was seeing a man hanging from the balcony. He jumped down when I went out. "I was trying to get Barry" he said. I looked down and as I did so a parrot bit my toe. It actually really hurt. A woman from a couple of balconies along said, "pick it up. He doesn't like toes but he hardly ever bites fingers."
"No." I said. They're lucky I didn't tread on its stupid green head.

I asked the bloke to come and get it. He was something of a rough diamond (to use a quaint 1960s type expression that doesn't actually suit the many tattoos and gruff Yorkshire accent).
"T'parrot don't bite fingers. He 'ates toes though lad'

He came in gruffly. When he went to the balcony door though he changed: " Baarry..bazza..chirp chirp cheep..come on then, come here..." It's amazing how people forget themselves when talking to their pets. Beneath the junkie veneer was a soft bird loving bloke. It was actually quite re-assuring. I'm still going to look up parrot bites though- are they poisonous?

Good Luck Mate

Best mate Chrabisb is getting married tomorrow. Was hoping to be best man but I think he's smuggling his real best mate up from Bristol. It doesn't matter because Chrabisb said I could be best man at his next wedding. Anyway, here's the speech I haven't prepared; extemporised without alcoholic impediment.

Ladies and Gentleman...may I have your attention please.... We have been friends or more than 20 years...yadda yadda....

It's traditional to make fun of the groom on these occasions though, to be frank, there's little to ridicule. Apart from that which is ridiculously little of course.

Chrabisb, like me, is a Spurs man. Tonight he'll be hoping that he can do what Spurs, and he, managed last season for the first time in a long time: get beyond the semis. In fact his passion for the club is surprisingly strong. Just this morning he must have been watching the highlights of some game whilst getting ready: "Come on Bent boy... let's slot one in" I heard him shout from behind the door. I was surspised when that young page boy came out the room later though- he really doesn't look like a footy fan to me.

I'm told by his mother-in-law that Chrabisb has been involved in the planning of this wedding from the start. Apparently he chose the flowers and cake and even had a hand in the bridesmaids' dresses.

I have some telegrams here...Someone called Simon Binladen wishes you all the best and hopes you enjoyed his emissary's little joke during the service about the fiery pits and what you must do to avoid them! Friends from Pakistan have sent you what seems like a very cryptic message and a tiny balloon: 'To the best trek leader: please accept this to protect your mango'. Finally there's one here from Yakasumi Nakamoto's Tokyo Extravaganza bar which simply says: 'we're solly to lose our best customer'.

As you know Chrabisb is a rope access worker. He must be very good. You only have to ask and he's accessed a bit of rope in no time. On the rigs and at the refinery he's in charge of inspecting pipes- clearly this is a job for which he is eminently qualified. When it comes to fixing leaks and improving capacity he hands over to a colleague though.

Finally I just like to say that I hope his bride isn't too disappointed this evening when she discovers that all that "saving up" he's been doing wasn't actually money.

Right I got all that off my chest: bet you're glad it's not a cheesy traditional one mate. Me and my girl and the boy wish you both all the very best for the future.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Thou Spurs doth vex me

Without wanting to sound all arty farty I found these lines from Macbeth and thought they pretty well suited how I feel about Tottenham's start to the season.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

(Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28)

OK, granted, the comparison is pretentious claptrap really but in my defence:

a) there's no way I can find the words (other than four letter ones) to properly articulate my frustration and agitation after 3 defeats and a draw that leave us propping up the table.
b) if someone else said it better then why not?
c) Shakespeare was aware of 'Hotspur' though if I remember rightly he wasn't his most sympathetic character and dies an ugly death.
d) tomorrow etc... echoes so clearly of every Spurs fan 'next season, next season'
e) all our yesterdays have lighted fools... as much as it pains me to acknowledge, our last league championship was before I was born
f) walking shadow = Jermaine Jenas
g) a poor player... take your pick at the moment
h) struts and frets his hour...actually reminds me of Berba though 'heard of no more' is regrettably unlikely

Cometh on you Spurs

Friday, 12 September 2008

SEVERELY OBSCURED

I thought it was a pain when we could only get restricted views at White Hart Lane. The big posts on the shelf side only count as a restricted view if they block the goal. We sat in these seats against Les Arses last year (see here). If I ever have to sit in one of those seats again I won't complain though. Pity the poor sods who have bought tickets for Spurs' forthcoming game against Krakow. This from the Spurs Website:


"Following a recent visit to the Wisla Stadium by Club officials in preparation for our UEFA Cup first round, second leg tie on October 2, we were alerted to some seating with severely restricted views of the pitch in the visitors section. The view of the pitch for a large number of seats within our allocation is severely obscured by security fencing along the segregation line and additional security fencing protecting the new media centre. "
It's more like a detention camp than a football stadium. It reminds me of the bad old, pre-Hillsborough days. I'm glad I'm not going to be honest. It's surprising really because Krakow itself is picturesque and apparently genteel.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Non verbal communication


Some of these are great (loads of signs). I have been to the one indicating the "secret nuclear bunker". it's disguised as a cottage and is a 1960s throwback. All the stuff in it is early 80s at best and the whole place is staffed by about three hippie weirdos. It was the place of refuge for MPs and other VIPs in the event of nuclear war. In its own way it was re-assuring because you could tell that any PM who'd seen it would not want to stay there and would thus do their best to avoid nuclear war for that reason alone. If Russia, Georgia, Ukraine et al. carry on in the same vein as they have been recently then they may well have to remove that road sign.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Guêpe

Luxembourg isn’t famous for much. It is the world’s last ‘Grand Duchy’ and, when I was working in Europe, was the place to go for cheap fags. It has no air force or navy and the army numbers a mere 800. I reckon I could take them on given the help of a few mates. It might be worth thinking about actually.

I ran the fuel right down whilst on the way up to Luxembourg so that I could take advantage of fuel prices that are a bit lower than France. I pulled into one of those massive motorway service stations where you fill up, get back into the car and then drive through a payment booth. Since I was on the wrong side we had got into a routine where my girl paid as I pulled up as close as I could so that she wouldn’t have to stretch her little arms too far.

I got out and waited for the fuel to be released and stood at the back of the car generally minding my own business. I was only vaguely aware of my girl getting out of the car and stooping down to pick up the squeegee in the bucket that Europeans actually fill up for drivers’ convenience. The next thing I heard was an ‘ooooh’ and went over to find my girl holding her hand and looking like she’d picked up some crap or something. “What’s up?” I asked, expecting her to say that she’d got a splinter from the handle. “Boooooooooooo Hooooooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” was accompanied by lots of pointing and the phrase “Bastard wasp”.

Now, I know I should have sprung into first aid mode but the car was empty and we had to drive through the payment queue anyway so I figured that I ought to fill up and then sort it. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was to assume she’d be able to pay. “ How can I pay?” she cried, through gritted teeth and moans so loud that everyone around was sure we’d had a row and I’d hit her or something worse. I paid while she asked between sobs “Am I going to die?”

We went into the service area and I found the first aider. I tried to explain what had happened but my French doesn’t stretch to the word for 'wasp' or, for that matter to the word for ‘stung’. So there I was trying to explain that she’d been “hit on the hand by an insect which is yellow and black” but this was taking too long. “WASP,” rasped this person that I n o longer recognised “Fucking WASP….why don’t these people understand English?” The women started to pour vinegar on the sting while the patient sobbed uncontrollably.

A moment later I swear I saw a shaft of sunlight shine through a gap in the clouds as an indistinct but melodious choir of angels did that ‘aaaah haaa’ thing they do (supposedly). A woman appeared, trailing four angelic, almost identical blond children. She claimed to be Dutch but, of course, we know that she had come from a better place. “I have an anti wasp and sting removal kit,” she said. From her bag she produced this odd contraption and sucked the poison from the sting. “You are not going to die.” The sobbing subsided and my kudos rating improved as the day wore on and the pain wore off.

Luxembourg maybe an inconsequential anomaly but, for me and my girl, it is Europe’s seat of infamy, forever to be associated with pain and panic and an insect that is black and yellow.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Summer 5- Rot op!

By and large Dutch people speak better English than English speak people Dutch. This is useful when visiting Holland. I went twice over the summer; once for the Feyenoord tournament with my son (which Spurs won and thereby promised so much) and more recently on a bit of a road trip with my girl. I'm grateful that Holland is rammed with polyglots but still feel that everyone should avoid swearing in a language that is not their own. This extends to using swear words as signs in shops like this one below:English is still 'a la mode' (deliberate joke) in Europe. Signs everywhere have smatterings of English. Again this is OK, especially when you want to buy something. These people in Holland presumably don't quite get 'fuck' as a word and neither did the people in Paris a few years ago whose clothes shop window had massive signs announcing 'FUCK: The Sale'. It reminds me of the Japanese department store which aimed to appeal to Westerners by embracing Christmas celebrations. They did this by having a giant santa nailed to a cross at the front of the shop.

There's something about the complexity and subtelty of swearing that means as a second language speaker you're rarely going to get it right. A korean student in my class once declared that he was 'very wank' one morning. I still don't know what he meant; I didn't like to ask.

Summer 4- Money does grow...

I went for a walk over at Hardcastle Crags in the Calder Valley and along the way I came across this log. The close up shows that all the bumps are actually coins
There isn't much online by way of explanation but it seems that this is some kind of wish tree. Wikipedia have this to say about it. Some of the coins are very old and I wonder how it started. It's not like there's a sign or a hammer on a piece of string.



Summer 3-Jeux avec essence

At my girl's place of work they did this 'It's a knockout' thing as a sort of team building exercise. Amongst the apparent chaos there was a great sense of camaraderie. War paint and ripped T shirts defined team identity and the competitive spirit came through in the ingenious ways virtually everyone tried to cheat their way to victory. The last game involved a big water fight. One of the guys got a bit carried away and, grabbing what he thought was a canister of water, poured it over one of the bosses only to discover the canister was full of petrol. As the fumes wafted over the field and people hurriedly extinguished their cigarettes one question hung as pungently in the air as the stench of fuel: 'How could he not have known what was in that can?' The picture doesn't really do the event justice but I got there only after the big inflatable stuff had been deflated. My girl got a medal. That made me more proud than the multiple medals Team GB got in China though they should be pretty pleased with themselves too (without banging on about it and becoming BBC sports personalities and all that).

Summer 2

Just before the summer holidays the boy did this to his knee. He also did the other one and managed to do something nasty to his wrist too. Why is it that only kids graze their knees?

Summer 1

Since July I haven't been able to upload pictures from my phone to my PC. My PC is now lying dead on my floor but I have managed to upload my pictures to my laptop. This means that I have a backlog of interesting things to share/pollute the ether with (depending on your point of view).
Over the last few months I have see three films at the cinema. I saw 'In Bruges' which I loved so much that I went to Bruges last week. I can confirm that it is in Belgium. I also saw 'Get Smart' at the weekend with my boy. It clearly appeals to the teenage sense of humour. This is why I laughed a lot I think. The other film I saw was 'Sex and the City'.

You have to understand that I only went because my girl wanted to see it. I know it's a bit late for a film review but I still have residual angst that I need to get off my chest. The summer has been a good one but if there is a stain on it it's in the shape of the vacuous, pointless drivel that sold out all over the country. I have only ever walked out of the cinema for one film which was the utterly abysmal Fatal Attraction- Glenn Bloke was irritating me so much that it was either that or a frenzied assault on the screen with my own big knife. Sex and the City was about 500 times worse. Maybe I didn't get the subtlety but as far as I could make out it was an interminable catwalk salted and peppered with flimsy stereotypes of homosexuals and 40 somethings with too much money and too few brain cells. I had zero sympathy for any of the protagonists: when the main character's husband jilted her at the alter I had my only moment of enjoyment :" Yes," I thought (or maybe even said aloud) "That's about what you deserve."

At the end I asked my girl if she'd enjoyed it in the hope that my suffering would be ameliorated by her enjoyment. 'It was OK, I guess,' she said.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Plus ca change...

I have just gone to my dictionary and torn out the page with 'optimism' on it. I no longer want that word in my vocabulary. I have simultaneously turned the corner over on the page with 'pessimism' on it so that I might be sanguine much less frequently. I know that anyone that knows me will say that if I see myself like that I am also deluded but I'm talking specifically about football because... I was the one, on the way to the ground up at 'boro yesterday, predicting a 3-0 win for us. Pre-season (as usual) allowed me to build up those false hopes and make the stupid optimistic prediction. It's not so much the optimism itself that is the problem but the anguish that comes with having to fall so far back down to Earth once reality kicks in.

The despair is such that I can't be bothered to explain what the problems were but the Guardian do it very well actually http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/aug/17/premierleague.middlesbrough . The fan comment at the bottom is pretty accurate too. It didn't help that we'd met up with a boro supporting mate before and after the game. Karma kicked in as it always seems to with footy. The first thing he said to me when we met up post match was: 'I've been looking forward to this since you took the piss after the Cardiff defeat in the FA Cup'

Incidentally, by removing 'optimism' I also manage to lose 'opprobrium' which can't be a bad thing. I will probably miss 'optical' and 'optician' though being as I'm already uber-shortsighted (as they say in Germany). Very interestingly though I also lose 'opposition'- I think that this is probably the only way that the less than mighty Spurs will come anywhere near fulfilling my (and my son's and my girl's and, in fact, most Spurs fans) fanciful expectations.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

random man



I saved those pictures of Prague in the post below ...simply right click and select ulozeck obrazit jako. Czech is easy man. In the My Documents folder there were these two pictures. Who is this man? I reckon he fancies himself a bit.

Not sure if this is the same bloke or if this is his very similar looking girl-boyfriend. I think they{re German.

Postcard from Prague

This is one place in Europe that I had never been to before. Of course I,d heard that it was beautiful and I{d seen it in film and in pictures. I didn{t realise quite how special it¿d be though. The bulk of the really ace stuff seems to have been built in the 14th century though my poorly worded chepeast guide to the Prague isn{t really that informative. We have been doing a lot of trolling around. It{s surprisingly steep and also surprisingly humid. The lack of an apostrophe on this czech keyboard is wearing me down a bit though.


..sorry can{t find brackets either...We have just come from here.. )prague castle=
and we are on our way here... -king charles bridge-
As you can see, we{re doing the proper tourist thing. It{s not nearly as cheap as I thought it{d be though.

Ok that{s enough of that....wish you were here etc...
love
Matt and the boy

Warning