Monday, 27 April 2009

White Supremacist Lane

We're used to the odd Chelsea "fan" giving the Nazi salute at the Lane even now (My grandad didn't of course when he came with us a few months ago!). This is something else though. I've seen pics of the England team doing the Nazi salute in an international in germany but I had no idea this had happened. I think it speaks for itself and the various ironies don't really need spelling out.

You can read the match report here:

an extract: "having seen several of the matches that England plays, as each December comes around, one inference may perhaps be advanced without harshness, and this is that football is a game more suited to the Anglo-Saxon and the Teuton than to the Latin race."

Thursday, 23 April 2009

St George's Day

If it amounted to a bit of an excuse to put on a funny hat and have a drink then this would be a saint day like any other. It doesn't though and it really pisses me off. The flags come out and overt or thinly veiled racism gets a chance to mix it up a bit. I turned Radio 4 off this morning on my way to work because I heard them giving air time to one of the most odious, insidious, contemptuous of arses: Nick Griffin. His latest rallying cry is that 'allowing' black British people to call themselves black British amounts to 'bloodless genocide'. I would be happy to enlighten Griffin and his pathetic cronies about their obvious misunderstanding of the term though, not wanting to stoop to the same level, I'd resist the temptation to make it a practical demonstration.

History tells us that even at the most volatile times the far right never gets to more than 4th place in this country. Mosley's BUF had rallies with 10,000 people in attendance; the NF could muster a fair size crowd of very poorly educated and badly dressed thugs policed by often sympathetic and poorly educated but smartly dressed SPG units. That was about as well as they did because, by and large, and despite a systematic weakening of trade unions; some seriously dangerous changes to the national curriculum; a biased and ill balanced press and oppressive legislation & policing, most working class people in this country can see through all the crap that they (and now the BNP) peddle. This doesn't mean that we can become complacent though.

When I turned off the radio I re-tuned to TalkSport. I thought that, even though it's quite blokey, I could get away from the depressing stuff and listen to some stuff about football. The first thing I hear is Alan Brazil mouthing off about 'people coming over here with 6 kids, sponging off the state' and the fact that he paid for it. If he wasn't so obviously Scottish he'd be the very definition of a Little Englander. His ignorance is embarrassing. His status as a national broadcaster is beyond belief when you hear the kind of unsubstantiated Daily Mail type twaddle he waffles on about. He thinks he can get away with it because he follows it up by saying, 'Och, you can't say these things cos people think you're being racist when you're being patriotic.' Second guessing an opposing argument doesn't mean 1. you win 2. it makes your argument valid or 3. that you are worth listening to or 4. saying you're not something means that you're not that thing. Brazil is a nasty weasle. I hope that the TalkSport execs realise that he doesn't actually speak for target audience. It's doing the majority of football fans a serious disservice. You only have to go to The Library or The Lane to see that there's a lot of mixing on the terraces. despite the tribalism and history of hooliganism I actually believe that football offers an opportunity for harmonisation and increased cultural syncretism. It changes the the way you see other people. I see a Spurs shirt first- in the context of football nothing else matters. I (much to the embarrassment of the boy sometimes) will turn to the person next to me at the match or on the train and talk to them.

Contrary to belief of those that don't attend matches, most of the time it doesn't even matter what shirt they're wearing. Of course some people get carried away but a fight over football is, by definition, limited. It's never going to ignite the spark that will lead to oppression or genocide. Alan Brazil needs to bugger off back to the 1970s. The sooner that Talksport realise what an offensive and outdated Muppet that bloke is the better. I also think that everyone should be given an England shirt and flag. Then you'd be able to spot the scared, pathetic chumps by their lack of a cross of St George.

Post script: I am aware of the 'football war' but even a cursory flick through the history books will show that this was going to kick off anyway.

Power Teaching

Apparently sweeping its way across California, this innovation in teaching is ....interesting. I saw it done with a bunch of 8 year olds and could see how, if used prudently, it could get results. It seems though that the advocates and power teaching evangelists reckon this should be THE way. As much as it looks 'new' it takes a lot from classic behaviourism and the older the students are the more jarring is the choral response idea. Does it stop teachers droning on? Yes. Does it include elements of peer teaching and opportunities for assessment? Yes. These are two things that I am constantly talking to trainees (and, through internal dialogue and the occasional stage whisper, myself) about. However, it has a strong sense of the squaddie drilling things you see in American Movies and has a lot of built in suppositions that are brushed over.

Even so, it's interesting watching this bloke do his thing. The second video is power teaching in action in what I'd say was a more appropriate setting (with multiple reservations of course).

Class? Yes....TEACH!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Phil Spector

My recently revived interest in the Ronettes has coincided with the conviction yesterday of Phil Spector for murder. It's interesting reading about the case how there seems to be some element of doubt but, nevertheless, he's going down to walls of brick rather than sound (I know, that's cheap). All the pictures and reports alongside what I have read about the man from the time he was married to Ronnie suggest a weirdo and a half, to say the least. I wonder how much this has influenced any decisions that juries and others have reached.

Land of hope and glory

Really it's no wonder we built a massive empire and struck fear into the hearts of our enemies. A trip to Howarth then on to Hebden Bridge yesterday (Easter Monday) revealed England to be what most foreigners have no doubt long suspected: full of absolute nutters. This first clip is of the annual Duck race in Hebden. I think that the clip, although short, and poorly framed with bobbing blue rinses in the foreground, captures the thrill of the race and the tension as onlookers of Donald vies with Daffy and four or five thousand other (probably unnamed) little plastic fellows for a taste of glory. A doping scandal marred the event though, unfortunately.

Some pictures of last year's event can be found here:

I had something to say about it two years ago too. I think I was more cynical then.

The second clip shows a group of Morris Dancers proving that street dance isn't something invented in Compton, LA. This lot were outside the station, in a car park. I had to do Morris dancing when I was at school. It's likely to form the basis of my new Dave Peltzer style memoir.

Sunday, 12 April 2009


Tension gone, the win at the Lane yesterday against a surpirsingly rubbish West Ham means that all of a sudden we can all breathe that sigh of relief that we've been waiting to let out for months. I'm grateful it didn't have to wait till May. I've been all doom and gloom this season so the boy, my girl and my Spurs buddies will all be grateful too. After Blackburn last Saturday it looked as if we might go on a bit of a dodgy run but no; London clubs no longer have some kind of hoo doo. We lost only to Fulham this season and, frankly, they're such a fluffy and likeable club that I don't begrudge them the points at all (with or without Andy 'I'm not nearly as good as I think I am and I dive a lot' Johnson).

Now we can only look up. We're 8th. What a stupid, beguiling game this is. COYS.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ian Tomlinson

I know this is not in the usual tone of this blog but there are times when things shock you so much you have to express your frustration and anger. This is the footage that disproves the police claims about what happened to Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demo last week.

Police routinely use video to film protestors and crowds at football matches. I hope that on this occasion the use of video will stop the closing of ranks and prevent a cover up that has typified examples of brutality in the past. In 1991 I was arrested at a demo in Parliament Square. I wasn't doing anything other than trying to get through a cordon to a coach that was waiting to take us back to Woolwich. Even so, I was arrested, thrown on to the floor of a riot van, kicked and punched and charged with assualting a police officer and inciting riot. The charge was made up in front of me by two officers from Stoke Newington police station. I was convicted and, because I work in education, I have to carry that conviction around with me. It's surprising how many people give you the 'yeah whatever, you must have been doing something wrong ' look when you tell them what happened. I was lucky in the greater scheme of things of course. What happened to me is nothing compared to what happened to people like Ian Tomlinson and Jean Charles de Menezes.


The similarities between Pob and my girl are disconcerting. She tends not to write her name in spit mind you. I will be in trouble for this.

Tilt Shift

Sometimes things are great but you don't know why. Best mate sent me a link: which enables you to create the illusion of a model from a real photo. Why would you want to do that? I don't know, but it's excellent fun. Here are some I did yesterday. If you look carefully you can see my car.

This is so much more fun than marking essays.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

it wouldn't happen in tennis

You couldn't make this up. This is from MSN but the Guardian also reported it amongst others. I have resisited the temptation to make a whole bunch of cheap puns at the ref's expense; I'm sure he'll be the butt of many a joke every time he blows for anything.

Player penalised for breaking wind
A referee ordered a penalty to be retaken in a Sunday league football game after an opposition player "broke wind" as the ball was kicked. The referee also gave the player a yellow card for the noise which was classed as "ungentlemanly conduct". But Chorlton Villa, who conceded a goal on the second take, went on to win the match 6-4 against International Manchester FC at Turn Moss in Stretford, Manchester.

I get why 'ungentlemanly conduct' was put inside inverted commas in the article but why put 'broke wind' in them? It's not like that's the official FA terminology for this act. I will raise it with the Football Association Rules & Terminology Society. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to conduct myself in an ungentlemanly fashion upstairs.