Friday, 20 November 2009

Le Hand Of God - Gauling

Poor old Thierry, or Terry as he will now be known, having tarnished his reputation to such an extent that Fifa have asked him to relinquish all his Gallic sophistication privileges, first of which comes the French name and second his accent, which we understand he will hand in today, in return for a more humble West country grumble a la Ian Holloway. But does anyone truly feel sorry for The Cheat®? Listening to Danny Kelly's insane ranting on Talksport on Thursday evening, wherein he blamed everyone and everything for this latest Sodom and Gomorrah moment in sport's own Sodom and Gomorrah, football, but mainly, from what I understood, Arsene Wenger, I couldn't help feel like I was missing something somewhere. Yep, that's right, the man who ACTUALLY DID offer Sheffield United a replay when Arsenal were adjudged to have taken an unfair advantage of United kicking the ball out for a throw, has now been blamed for the actions of a 31 year old man who has not played for him for 3 years. People like Kelly in the media make me hate football. They really do. But for a minute, when I looked at that smile of Titi's as he celebrated that goal, I remembered, just for a moment, how much I used to love it. Smile, Thierry, you are the man!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Some photographs of the village I now (and, I suppose always have) call home. A different proposition to London with its streams of neon, and nights full of faces and bodies. But I like the trees and the stars at night.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Poor People To Watch Ashes Again

In 2005, I was one of the multitude that followed the Ashes with the fervor which that series seemed to somehow magically inspire in almost everyone I knew. I remember the morning of the 4th Test at Trent Bridge, watching it and having to leave to get to work, and thinking how when I got out of the other end of the tube journey, England will have lost, and the summer would end up the same as every other Ashes summer I had known.
I got off the tube at Leicester Square, and started to walk to the shop. My mobile rang. It was my girlfriend, and she was describing something that I could only have dreamed up.
She was describing Steve Harmison's final wicket, and I could not believe what she was telling me. I made sure she had it all right. Harmy was bowling, right? Yes, Will. He didn't take the catch, no? No. Definitely? Definitely. I got to work and went to the BBC site, and there it was...

MS Kasprowicz c† GO Jones b SJ Harmison 19 (30)

I could not believe it had ended like that, and I had not watched it.

I was reminded of that morning today, when it was announced that the Ashes could be protected as a free-to-air event from 2013. That summer, everyone knew who Freddie was. It felt so wholesome having this monument to the drama and theatre of sport available to everyone. EVERYONE. It was an absolute and joyous rejection of football and Sky and the cynicism of that horrible money drenched den.

Sport is the greatest literature there is, it reflects the nobility, desperation, pain and joy that is the very crux of the human condition in a way that no art ever could. It's visceral and exhilarating, and the more of these generation-defining moments everyone can see, the better, surely?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


I couldn't watch the fight at the weekend, but I wanted to. I read about it the next day, like too much modern sport. I was out at a friend's party, celebrating his wedding anniversary.

Here is a poem that I was put in mind of by this apparent dichotomy.

I also wrote something about it today, and I will post it here, for once.


Valuev looked heartbroken
in the photo I saw on Sunday.
I had been reading, like
everybody else, about this
circus freak that had
never even been knocked down,
let alone knocked out.
Now I am reading about
Haye's perfect fight. Well,
some of them are saying that.

And I am thinking about
Valuev's belt, shining in
the hands of this cruiser-weight
from London. And the fact
that he wrote poetry for his
wife, so they said.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Sporting Life

Last night I was out with a friend. We were drinking in this pub in the village, and the place was dead. Dead of anything. No people in there. No sport on. No music playing. But we drank Guinness and the conversation came. We talked about sport, and politics, and the evolution of the English Language, and how Tolkien's work is concerned with this. We both liked Tolkien. So did the girl behind the bar. Yeah, it was that dead. Finished the night with Makers Mark and ice.
I walked back down a broad, tree-lined street and felt at home.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


I was listening to the radio yesterday, listening to the recommendations being made to parliament as a result of the inquiry into MP's expenses. After, they had a couple of MPs on, talking about what had been said. I think my biggest problem with this situation as it stands right now is the degrading sense of indignity that pervades these conversations. These are our legislators, our leaders, our ambassadors, they are supposed to "be" us, and I just don't want to hear a fucking grown woman moaning about how "they" have designated her as living close enough to Westminster to not qualify for rented accommodation when it takes three whole hours for her to get home on the train. These people sounded like the wealthy students I met at college who were always the most vociferous when moaning about the cost of their fees, I hated that shit then, and I hate it still. For fuck's sake, get a grip. Grow up, take it on the chin, suck it up. You fucked us. All of us. And now you are getting fucked. That's capitalism, I'm afraid. It's your game, it's your ball. And if the trains are shit at that time of the evening...
That's your job, isn't it?