Murder

Mar. 6th, 2017 10:25 pm
keresaspa: (Default)
*Insert weak joke about visiting Edinburgh lots before waffling for ages about most recent visit*

Therefore )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Diggory)
The short version of this is that London was rather good apart from the going and the coming, which were hell on earth. On the off-chance that anybody is still reading this (and I note in my extended absence that I am now down to one person submitting regular updates on my friends list) I shall expand at some length about what took place.

The Austrian stork nurtures the kites )

Paris

Aug. 29th, 2015 11:07 pm
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Hello you *waves*. Yeah, just back from Paris and that, which, of course, means I have to go on at length about the last week. Apologies in advance if this gets a bit incoherent but you should all be used to that by now.

Lundi )

Mardi )

Mercredi )

Jeudi )

Vendredi )
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
On the plus side I suppose it shows that Pulis really is getting a bit more clout than his predecessors and the crappy stooge-Burton-Day-Garlick-Peace structure that has hamstrung successive bosses at West Bromwich Albion is slowly being dismantled. But on the minus side can Albion do bloody nothing right?! No sooner has portly Scouse love-god Paul Jewell been installed in some role or other under Pulis than he is shipped out the door in order to make way for mulleted Cockney love-god Gerry Francis in some different role or other on a part-time basis. So no sooner does the new order begin to take shape than the fallouts and law suits follow. Piss-up in a bloody brewery at the Hawthorns as usual.

Other than that I suppose the Pulis era has got off to a pretty good start overall. The 1-0 win over Hull with their lousy chairman and their pro-rapist manager was a welcome one, putting some distance between Albion and one of their relegation battle rivals. The performance was hardly a feast for the eyes but it's Tony Pulis so I think we're all going to have to get used to winning ugly until he loses interest and hits the road. He's also come close to finally doing something with Saido Berahino, the most talented product of the youth system in decades but one unfortunately cursed with an at times lamentable attitude. If he can get the best out of him I may have to revise my hostile opinion of Pulis but that's some way off. For now though I'll give a cautious welcome to the start he has made, apart from this nonsense with Jewell. But, what with the revolving door "head coach" policy, the dressing room bust-ups and quenelles, we really could do with a bit of stability so if Pulis can deliver a nice, quiet 11th place finish this season I'll be a happy bunny.
keresaspa: (Heckle and Jeckle)
A big boo to the Northern Ireland Football League who, for the second year running, have decided that Boxing Day derby matches should be the privilege of the top division and nobody else, with the rest of us having to settle for the usual humdrum of a Saturday afternoon. As if Boxing Day isn't a big enough waste of time was it is, the one possible escape has been removed by the league bean-counters, who it seems would be much happier to return to the one division structure with which they persevered for so long and for whom the teams below might as well not exist.

I did briefly toy with the idea of getting a ticket for Cliftonville-Crusaders anyway but the needless difficulties it involved precluded me in the end. I did take a run up to the Solitude last week but the club that claims to be the best run in Northern Ireland didn't bother having anybody there so it was a wasted trip, whilst their website tells me only that tickets could be purchased from their social club during "usual opening hours". Inevitably what these hours are is absent from said website so unless you live next door (which I don't) you just have to guess. Why is Northern Ireland so shite at the internet? I wouldn't mind, but theirs is actually one of the best in the league. Apart from anything, these last few years of following DC have hardened my attitudes towards Cliftonville so much that I would probably have been rooting for the Crues anyway.

So it seems Boxing Day will come and go without any football as there are no alternatives with the non-league shutting down until January (well, there's Linfield-Glentoran but I really don't fancy a UDA v UVF riot, thanks). As a consequence I will also miss the Border Cup final, traditionally played on 27th December, as it will clash with a full lower league programme and so I'll be in the wilds of Lambeg whilst it's on.

A job well done by the NIFL, with the supporters of 29 clubs denied their traditional Boxing Day derby thanks to your obsession with the top division at the expense of the others. What a bunch of idiots they really are.
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
I have very a vague recollection of riding a tricycle out the back yard (no gardens in those days, we wuz poor but we wuz happy) when I was around two or three but details are sketchy at best as to whether it was actually mine or not. Beyond that I've never had any involvement with pedal contraptions in my life. Whilst every child would happily free-wheel through the barrios of Belfast and its environs the notion never appealed to me, being something of a lazy little git and also (little did I know) struggling with the reduced energy levels that haemochromatosis imparts. As a consequence not only have I never owned a bicycle but I can't actually ride one and the few occasions on which I have attempted to utilise a static exercise bike I invariably pedal backwards, a bizarre affliction caused by a combination of my lack of cycling knowledge and my laterality.

As time has gone on my feet have become my mode of transport and given that something like 75% of my a-to-b movements are now accomplished by walking inevitably cyclists have become my natural enemies. Just as cyclists hate the drivers so we walkers detest the cyclists with their horrible attitudes, their silent speed and their flagrant disregard for the rules of both the road and the pavement. I've lost count of the number of times I've expelled a sexual swear-word after some bike bugger who suddenly whizzed past my shoulder at a dangerously close distance or who, upon encountering a red light, suddenly mounted the pavement to speed at pedestrians. And don't get me started on the hateful tossers who ride a bike to walk their dog (dogs being runners-up in the walker's natural enemy contest).

As a consequence you don't need to guess how much interest I have in those long, drawn-out cycling contests like the Tour de France. Well, stone me because suddenly the Italian version is taking place on my bloody doorstep. Strictly speaking it hasn't even started yet but I am without doubt completely sick of it already. Now we all know that I'm a total droopy-drawers and as such the enforced jollity and enthusiasm that has arrived along with lycra-clad steroid guzzlers might be appealing to all of my fellow denizens of Farsetshire but for me they can cram it with walnuts.

On Monday we had the Belfast marathon, the annual spectacle of sweating nonsense that renders every May Day in Belfast a junk day in which it is impossible to get anywhere. Now we are to have four days of solid disruption just to determine which jacked-up pedaller gets to go on to the next stage or something. God knows public transport in Belfast is bad enough but for the next few days it is going to be so slapdash that it might as well not even exist. Belfast will become every bit as impassible as on any 12th of July and all for a substantial loss and the possibility of advertising (because there are apparently a significant number of people in the world who have never heard of Belfast but will do so because a bicycle ride is here). Give me strength. I know that the local mugwumps are obsessed with brining daft one-offs to this city but this is one we really could have done without. At the best of times this is a congested hell hole, where the simple chore of getting from one side of the city to the other can take over an hour by pubic transport, but with all this nonsense doing anything will be virtually impossible, particularly for those without cars and who have impaired mobility. But who cares, eh, we have a bunch of juiceheads on bikes that nobody has ever heard of so it's all worth it. Had the council ever bothered to invest in a transport infrastructure that doesn't rely on the roads all of this might have been no big deal but they haven't and a result for the second time in a week the city has to come to a standstill for some silly little race. Why this couldn't have been dumped in the Glens of Antrim or some other hick place that no sod ever goes is beyond me, rather than ballsing up a whole city just for bloody cycling.

Put it this way if I don't get to the matches on Saturday because of all this tripe then I'll be frightfully cross with the organisers. Rotters.

Buffoonery

Mar. 8th, 2014 08:33 pm
keresaspa: (Diggory)
Butter my arse, but what an absolute pisser of a day that turned out to be. Gnash and stamp.

As yesterday was yet another in my catalogue of blood-lettings (getting mighty sick of that shite) I consoled myself with the thought that at least today I could return to the Suffolk Road and watch my first Donegal Celtic home game for the first time since last year. So off I set, nice and early by my own standards, full of the joys of spring on what proved a fine sunny day. I should have known something was going awry when I reached the town and saw yet another rumpus involving those fucking Nazi flag protest dickheads outside the City Hall who appeared to be in a tussle with a group looking to do something for International Women's Day (Socialist Party, hang your collective heads in shame for running like shite from a group of loyalists grannies and press-ganged children). Still it was all good and I headed off to the west, decamping at the bottom of the Suffolk Road as I fancied a bit of stroll. As I passed Falcarragh Drive (about five minutes from the ground) I thought "must have a look at the phone", as I generally ignore the blasted thing on a Saturday. What do I find therein - a collection of messages informing me about early morning shenanigans, culminating in a "match off" text. So there I stood in the middle of nowhere, twenty minutes off three o'clock, only to discover I had got my run for nothing. Bollocks! My own fault in a way obviously as I should have checked the phone before leaving but I'm still mystified as to how a pitch can be waterlogged when we've had hardly any rain. Honest to God, they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery up there! It's getting to the point where I don't expect to see any more home matches this season because if the pitch is unplayable on a day like that then it'll never be usable again. Why are my anxieties about DC going out of business resurfacing, I wonder?

Reliant as I am on public transport it took me the guts of an hour to get across town to Seaview, more on the off-chance that there might be something going on there rather than with any foreknowledge. Still, Seaview being Seaview, of course there was a match on and, whilst I missed the first half hour due to the Metro bus service being a steaming pile of dogshite, I still was on time to see both goals as Crusaders reserves beat their Coleraine counterparts 2-0. It's strange to think that when [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks accompanied me there in the summer it was my first visit to Seaview as I am now getting sick looking at the place, given that it is one of the few venues in the city capable of resisting a bit of drizzle. Actually scrub that as I'm not getting sick looking at it at all and am very thankful that it is always there and always has a match available when, as happens so often, one's own team lets one down.

I was out in such good time that I was able to pay a visit to the recently opened Sick Records on my way back. Nice little shop, if a bit hipster for my taste and I generally don't buy much in the way of new vinyl, given how stupidly overpriced it invariably is. Nevertheless their second-hand section, though small, was not without its charms and I was able to touch for a Conflict album and a compilation of Japanese psychobilly. Indeed they had a decent selection of psychobilly at competitive prices which I may well revisit. Classy too that they let you keep the plastic sleeves for your purchases although, given the price of those bloody things, I don't expect that to last too long. Either way, nice addition to the local scene. For breadth of choice I prefer Head (although their recent move seems to have brought about a thinning out of range and a general rise in prices), for good punk stuff and a chance to moan about illnesses I prefer Dragon and for a good old rummage through all sorts of mess and a bit of banter I prefer Track Records in Ballymena but I imagine I'll drop in from time to time and the more choice there is amongst independent music shops the better I suppose.

So not a total loss altogether but nevertheless I am frightfully cross with DC right now. Bloody gits!
keresaspa: (Jabberjaw)
You'll all remember the whole garden lark that I waffled about in the summer. Silence on that score was due to the entire thing grinding to a premature halt not long afterwards. There was a lot of fuss about getting cement to plug gaps that delayed things, a lot of fuss about getting a new back fence that delayed things, my being sidetracked into taking on a rather major project at the house of my severely disabled uncle, problems getting the required stones, poor weather, haemochromatosis and a general lack of being arsed that saw the whole thing grind to a halt.

Involves pictures and length )
keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
After spending the last three Saturdays in Poleglass, Rathcoole and Sydenham respectively my hopes of finally returning to DC were scuppered by the success of next opponents Limavady United in the William Craig Memorial Cup, an intermediate competition in the north-west, and the enforced postponement of the league game so as they can play their quarter final (I think). Still, "never mind" I thinks to myself, "as the east coast equivalent, the Steel & Sons Cup, is having its quarter finals at the same time and I quite fancy a return to Paisley Park for Albert Foundry's clash with Crumlin Star". Except that's gone west as well as, in the sort of cock-up between club and IFA that DC supporters are well used to, Foundry are out of the cup, their replacements are the erstwhile Ulster Poly team and the match is in the depths of Newtownabbey on Friday night. A real shame as Foundry-Star would have been a ding-dong (and is potentially an Irish League rivalry in waiting) and I always hate to see a team excluded from a competition for any off-field reason. It also means that come Saturday I am left with a straight choice between Iveagh United out in Twinbrook or one of the Newtownabbey pair of Mossley or 18th Newtownabbey O.B., all in Division 1C of the Amateur League. Don't let it be said I don't lead a glamorous life!

As for Roy Hodgson's joke I'll not say much as too much has been written about it already but my own take is that it wasn't intended as racist but it was a daft choice of metaphor by an otherwise intelligent man. But, on the positive side, it has overshadowed the inevitable slew of "we can win this" rhetoric from the press and the more deluded members of the England support. Oh, when will they ever learn?! And I should probably declare now that, given my usual side Paraguay have failed to make the cut (finishing rock bottom of the CONMEBOL standings no less), my support at the next World Cup will be given to Bosnia. Why not?
keresaspa: (Finlayson)
So Donegal Celtic went down last season after losing points because of administrative fubars. They lost their manager, coaching staff, most of the playing staff and chairman recently because of the screwed-up finances. Another administrative snafu resulted in the club missing out on the Steel & Sons Cup, a relatively prestigious affair for non-senior clubs culminating in a Christmas Day final. Now, after yet more administrative idiocy, the club are going to miss out on competing in the Irish Cup and the Intermediate Cup. Good God! Talk about not being able to find your arse with both hands. Remind me why I started supporting these muppets? In fairness the performance against Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday was good in parts (although Ballyclare as a town, it must be said, is possibly the most horrible place I have ever set foot in) and Paul McAreavey deserves a medal for taking on the manager's chair but it will all be for nothing if they don't get their act together off the pitch as things are a bloody shambles right now.

Ah bugger it for now, I can start to worry again on Saturday . Instead, and apropos of nothing, here is a list of my favourite album for every year since 1966 for no reason other than I feel like recording it. So there.

Yup )
keresaspa: (Ray Meagher)
Judging by the explosion of pain on the sole of my foot near my heel it looks like plantar fasciitis has made a comeback, only this time in my right foot rather than my left as was the case in 2009. Of course I know exactly what will fix it and that is a few sessions of acupuncture but this place being the bureaucracy it is I can't just make a physiotherapy appointment off my own bat but rather have to go through my bloody GP and wait months before being seen, by which time it might have cleared up on its own (or become so unbearable as to render me disabled). I suppose I could go to accident and emergency and claim to have broken my foot in order to speed the whole process up but knowing those morons they would probably diagnose it as rabies or something. Even then I face the likelihood that a physio would be loathe to try acupuncture and will instead saddle me with weeks of that useless ultrasound crap which alleviates foot pain about as much as vinegar on a paper cut. As much as I like the concept of the NHS why do they feel the need to surround it in so much bloody red tape? It would almost be worth going to one of those strange Chinese medicine shops that offers acupuncture, herbal teas, crank baldness cures, copper rings to go round fegs and kokeshi dolls just to avoid the whole fuss. Too dear for my blood though.

As if I don't have to spend enough time in hospitals without this being visited on my head again. Oy vey!
keresaspa: (Two Ronnies)
Already the town is in an uproar and it is only going to get worse as Belfast gears up for the flaming MTV Awards. Trying to pass the City Hall is proving virtually impossible now that some great idiot has dumped a bloody great stage in front of it, just so as those whiny barstewards Snow Patrol can drone out their turgid rubbish alongside the combined talents of swingbeat nobody Jason Derulo (if it doesn't have "woke up this morning" lyrics and a guitar-driven sound I'll never call it R&B) and Boyce Avenue (no, me neither). This being Belfast of course there isn't a venue big enough for the whole shebang to happen at so instead it is to be carved up between riverside eyesore the Odyssey Arena and tiny Masonic HQ and Ulster Resistance birthplace the Ulster Hall. So if you have paid all that money to attend in the hope of seeing Snow Patrol, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and LMFAO then I'm afraid you're out of luck as crummy little Belfast can't accommodate all that world class "talent" under one roof. Of course it will be the sanitised, ultra modern "Titanic Quarter" Belfast that they all see but wouldn't it be great if they all got lost along the way and little poppets like Selena Gomez, Hayden Panettiere and Nicole Polizzi were forced to familiarise themselves with the delights of such beauty spots as the Springfield-Woodvale peace line, picturesque Glenbank or even the breathtaking majesty of Lanark Way. Either way do it as the world will never be able to go on until it can be conclusively determined how long Justin Bieber could survive in the Mount Vernon estate before finally suffocating under the combined weight of three hundred head of Lowwood Primary School heifers. Oh and if the organisers do decide to go with my suggestion and comically disperse them all to the four corners of the metropolis then kindly carry on up the Ormeau Road before dropping off Amy Lee as I'm sure I could find some room for her. Rather.

I mean really what will it be next, the Oscars come to Dungannon?! I ask you.
keresaspa: (Default)
I'm not even going to bother with the council election results coming through (yup, count on Monday despite vote being on Thursday - urination high in a distillery or something like that). More success for the same two parties that have ran this place into the ground over the last few years. Are the electorate brain dead or just temporarily insane? Besides something more momentous happened today - the return of the dixie horn. Time was that every hoodmobile around had the dixie horn and every estate rang out to the constant din of "I wish I was in the land of cotton" from every cruising Lada Riva. Then the 1990s came and the dixie horn went the way of pastel jumpers, checked jeans and pencil moustaches, left to fester unloved on the scrapheap of history. Well stone me if the driver of a sandwich van passing me today didn't honk the horn only to have a tinny version of the opening bars of the Battle Hymn of the Republic blare out. What next, boyos coming round the doors selling paintings of tigers on the weekly?

And here's a goose that lives in a rather nifty park on the other side of town for you all to enjoy.



Well that took my mind off the council elections for a little while. Imagine voting for that rabble. People are morons!
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
So far the elections have delivered one big surprise - there are wicked selfish bastards in the United Kingdom who think that the malevolent David Cameron has done a good job with his constant crapping on the poor. What else can explain the fact that his evil party have gained control of three councils and 61 councillors as the results stand and two seats in Wales? How "I'm alright, Jack" can some people get?! And shame on Wales for letting itself be lead around by the nose as the afterthought in the "England and ..." conjunction by turning away from Plaid Cymru. At least the Scots got it right by voting SNP. As oily a sod as Alex Salmond is, and I personally wouldn't trust the great lump as far as I could throw him, England's retreat into conservatism and the fact that it is never mirrored in Scotland makes the union about as attractive a proposition as Kim Woodburn in a bikini for a country that suffered so much under Thatcher.

For the Liberal Democrats the inevitable kicking has ensued, just as it should have. Everybody knows what the Conservative Party are about and so if you vote for them and get monetarism you have no right to complain. But the Liberal Democrats were elected on a platform avowedly to the left of Labour and are now spending their days propping up the most cuts-happy government in memory. Back to the drawing board for them, starting with the order of the boot for Clagknot, Calamity Cable (a man who has made Frank Dobson seem efficient) and anybody else associated with the ConDem junta, a withdrawal from the coalition and a period on the sidelines wringing your hands in the hope that some day somebody might forgive your wicked collaboration. Back to the drawing board too for Ed Miliband - true, Labour has made gains but hardly at an earth-shattering rate and if you can't duff up a government as wholly rotten as the current squad of bastards then something has gone seriously wrong.

Good also to see that the BNP has taken a right hiding and it might well be that the writing is on the wall for that lot. In typical extreme right fashion they have been stuck in internal bickering mode for the last few years and it is really starting to take its toll on them. Back in 1980 the British Democratic Party, the New National Front and the Constitutional Movement all left the National Front and set in place the collapse of that devilish mob as some went off on a Julius Evola-Codreanu path and others went off on a Jean-Marie Le Pen kick, meaning that by 1986 there were two National Fronts and by the mid 1990s three other groups in the Third Way, International Third Position and National Democrats had emerged, leaving the NF as an afterthought with a couple of hundred members. I'm not suggesting that the exact same thing is about to happen to the BNP but they look very short on ideas, especially now that the English Defence League has hoovered up most of the mouthbreathers, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the significant divisions that already exist ripping them apart. Fingers crossed anyway.

And as to my neck of the woods...well, who knows? Apparently the Electoral Commission here only hires blind people with dyscalculia before tying their hands behind their backs and yelling random numbers at them at irregular intervals during the count. Well, what else could explain why every election we are at least a day behind everywhere else when it comes to announcing results even though we have the smallest population of the four bits that make up the Disunited Queendom? Mind you, there were so few candidates in some seats that they would be as well just dealing the seats out to the big parties without even bothering to count votes. And I had better shut up now as I don't want to give the gruesome twosome any ideas.
keresaspa: (Tijuana toad)
It is as inevitable as a lie from Peter Mandelson's lips that any time you have to go to the hospital the weather will be Biblical in nature. As such it should have come as no surprise to me that today saw the sort of rain that would have the son of Lamech reaching for his boatwright's tool belt. Not ideal weather for crossing to the other side of the city but not a lot that could be done as the power of weather control has always eluded me. Even though I had been there a fortnight ago the ward I had to attend proved difficult to find, nestling as it does on the sixth floor of a giant building that is part of a much bigger hospital complex. The venesections are not by appointment but rather simply a process of turning up when you feel like it, a state of affairs that leads to inevitable farting about until somebody sees you. Still, after about twenty minutes I was taken into the room by a brown-shoed doctor who, having been warned about the difficulties of extracting blood from my left arm, set about draining old rightie. All well and good as the blood flowed at a rate of knots but unfortunately brown shoes was the very definition of all thumbs, loosening his grip on the needle in order to tear off some surgical tape (something that he really should have done in advance). Upshot was that the needle fell out with the bag half-full and my arm started spouting juice at a level not seen since CZW's last Tournament of Death. Profuse apologies and a bunch of gauze followed, albeit too late to save my shirt and trousers from a slasher film-esque drenching, before I then had to endure the slow drain from the left arm after all. Most unwelcome to say the least, especially considering that I effectively lost two bags rather than one due to brown shoes' bumbling. Then just to put the tin hat on things he went and took the iron levels blood samples out of the vein in my hand which, as the millions who read yesterday's description will recall, sickens me to the bone and which furthermore has left my mouse hand feeling terribly uncomfortable. Just to add to the general levels of farce an attempt to arrange a taxi home resulted in a half hour wait due to the idiot in the depot forgetting to log the phone call. Oh, what a bloody day! Anyway, tired out now due to the blood loss so I'll say good day to you.
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
The rather pointless last minute rush has been gripping me these last few days. Schleps out to York Street and the Newtownards Road to pick up inconsequential rubbish have been the order of the last few days, all the while trusting to the increasingly dreadful local bus service. It is a mystery to all bar the boss cocky of the execrable Translink Metro service as to why they have cut their service for the Christmas rush but that is the hand we have been dealt in Belfast. I suppose they can do what they want as they are the only game in town round here but it comes to something when their own bus inspectors are exasperatedly encouraging passengers to write and complain to head office. Upshot today was that a last run into town ended with a bus so packed that even the sardines were perturbed and muggins here, with his clown feet, had to endure the brunt of the walloping from fellow idiots attempting to alight as there is no way to escape when your size 14 mincers prevent you from getting out of the way. A packet of dates and a parsnip are still needed tomorrow but so help me I will find them locally as the thought of a bus on Christmas Eve is causing me to break out into a cold sweat. The fruit and vegetable shops in the local vicinity are a bit spit and sawdust but they shall do for me as I sure as hell don't fancy battling my way through the town on Saint Adela’s day or, worse yet, braving the posh 'parenting' types at Sainsburys who believe that it is great that precious little Jonathan expresses himself by bucking a load of kiwi fruit everywhere before breaking into a screaming tantrum. Nope, I'll take the smell of bruised bananas and the elderly any day!

Still, let's have something a bit more befitting of the time of year. For me there is nothing that says Christmas is here as much as the sight of a man dressed in a turkey suit beating seven bells out of a balding chap in his low grade living room. The finest piece of propaganda produced by the government in years so sit back and enjoy.





A merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
keresaspa: (Jose Luis Chilavert)
So, the World Cup draw as it happens (well, just after it happens actually but you get my drift) for those who care about such things:

Group A
1. South Africa
2. Mexico
3. Uruguay
4. France

Group B
1. Argentina
2. Nigeria
3. South Korea
4. Greece

Group C
1. England
2. USA
3. Algeria
4. Slovenia

Group D
1. Germany
2. Australia
3. Serbia
4. Ghana

Group E
1. Netherlands
2. Denmark
3. Japan
4. Cameroon

Group F
1. Italy
2. Paraguay
3. New Zealand
4. Slovakia

Group G
1. Brazil
2. North Korea
3. Côte d'Ivoire
4. Portugal

Group H
1. Spain
2. Switzerland
3. Honduras
4. Chile

Well that was almost worth sitting through the smug gang of Lineker, Lawro (Irish, my arse), Shearer and Motty and their "we can go all the way this time" rubbish, not to mention a mind-numbing Beckham interview followed by an even more mind-numbing piece about his blooming haircuts. We could also have done without the song and dance number, Charlize Theron's impression of the New Forest, Jonathan bloody Pearce and the interminable attempt to explain what was actually a relatively simple draw but I suppose it is the FIFA way to make a career out of these things. Still, come on Paraguay - we could go all the way this time!
keresaspa: (What do you think of it so far)
Loathe as I am to get worked up about trivialities (he said, lying through his teeth) I really cannot maintain my silence a moment longer about The Football League Show. Who would have though that the BBC could take something as seemingly straight forward as a lower division highlights show and make such a stinking arse of it?! Consider the evidence.

Ideally the presenter should be a fairly irrelevant figure who ghosts in for a few seconds every now and then to stop the show becoming a footballing stream of consciousness but those days are long gone as these little numpties want plenty of face time to boost their poxy little careers. Whilst that may be the case it must be said that Manish Bhasin is a very average presenter. Admittedly he's preferable to Adrian Chiles (although that's a bit like saying at least somebody is not as stupid as Peter Andre) but he still has too much of that frightened rabbit aura to be given what has been made into such an important job.

However if he's a bit on the rubbish side the at least they'll add in an ex-pro who improves things. Sadly not in this case. Admittedly the last episode made a slight step forward as Leroy Rosenior is at least an improvement on Steve Claridge, whose constant shifting and mumbling starts to annoy after about five minutes. Claridge has played at every level of football from Premier League to Isthmian League so, in theory, he should be an interesting man but in practice his twin contributions to the show seem to be rephrasing any question asked of him as a statement ("do you think Barnsley can stay up?", "I think Barnsley can stay up") or uttering the phrase "I played with [name of League One player] at [name of south-eastern non-league club] and he's a good lad". To Leroy's credit he did at least get a bit worked up abut things but I have little doubt that old vampire will be back next week moving from side to side at an alarming rate with his shoulders hunched. I would have questioned why such a short show even needs punditry but Auntie has long since abandoned any pretence of letting the viewers make up their own minds and besides all football supporters are brain-dead fanatics who spend all their time ska dancing in empty pubs and clenching their fists (well, according to the show's rotten opening sequence anyway).

However whilst presenter and pundit are both a tad on the crap side there is one huge carbuncle on the show that makes it virtually unwatchable. Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes and her "emailsntexts" spot. A stumbling, tutting, breathless ball of nervous energy, the good Lizzie is about as execrable as they come. Indeed her barely disguised plummy tones and her apparent inability to read at a level above the average five year old surely make her The Golden Shot's Anne Aston reincarnated (not that Ms Aston is dead, to the best of my knowledge). She was briefly replaced the other week by Jacqui Oatley, an old stager who turns up on manys a sports show and who was a huge step up in quality, being an altogether calmer and more competent presence in front of camera than that hyperventilating Marilu Henner-alike with the double barrelled name. But they could have Lorraine Kelly reading out emailsntexts and the whole thing would still seem totally superfluous. In all I cannot see why they feel reading out old hackneyed jokes that even Roy Hudd would dismiss as corny and half-formed opinions from drunken lorry drivers makes good TV. "We want to know what Bournemouth fans think of being top of the League Two" Lizzie will beam from in front of a bank of TVs. The response - "it's great". Thanks for clearing that up, Liz, I can finally sleep at nights. They also tell us that we can ask Steve a question but after one or two Derby fans took the needle at him suggesting Rob Hulse should move to Middlesbrough on the first day he now refuses to answer any question more controversial than "what did you have for dinner tonight". If, as I suspect, the purpose of the whole emailsntexts scene is to shoe-horn a woman into the proceedings then simply drop that waste of ten minutes, send Greenwood-Hughes back to children's hour where she belongs and rotate presenting duties between Bhasin and Oatley on a week to week basis. But much more of that current nonsense and I reckon I'll be abandoning the Beeb's offering in favour of quick highlights on Sky Sports News.

Of course I would be doing Greenwood-Hughes a disservice if I were to suggest that she is the only waste of airtime burdening the show. Mark Clemmit is also a waste of space with his pointless little pieces about how some shite indie band has a member who supports a football team. Really? What will he be tell us next, there are pop stars who breathe oxygen? It would also help if the pieces he did were any good and if he were capable of rising above the level of the purely superficial. Nobody cares about some Swindon Town obsessive apart from the Swindon Town obsessive himself and the football supporter as train-spotter thing has been done too often. Meanwhile many of the people directly involved in the game that Clemmit buzzes around seemed somewhat irritated by the forced laddishness of his presence and the last time I seen one human being look at another with the level of contempt that Chris Sutton clearly felt for "Clem" was when Princess Margaret had to meet a commoner. Also a man sporting a beard and a bald head who is clearly the wrong side of forty should not be speaking with a girl's voice. He is also much too old for those trendy jeans he always sports. Act your age, man!

Some weeks there can be as many as 36 games to get through so who decided that such an already packed show needed all this filler? None of you are comedians so stop trying to be funny and show the frigging games already! Under the current format some goals are not even replayed just so as we can hear that Dave from Mirfield thinks the Terriers are dark horses for promotion. And whilst we are it spend a bit more on quality cameramen as some of the work featured so far is way below the standard that should be expected from the national broadcaster and there are too many instances of "our cameraman missed [insert pivotal incident]". Also, stop all the silly walking about in that daft-looking studio and just sit down behind a normal desk on sensible chairs instead of perched on the edge of boyband ballad stools behind that glass contraption.

Of course football does not conform to Bill Shankly's idea of it being more important than life and death (although I'm sure old Shanks was just being mischievous when said that) but, as ITV so painfully demonstrated when their 7PM coverage of the Premiership tanked, it is not light entertainment either. Despite what the BBC seems to think (witness Kevin Day's continuing presence on the ghastly Match of the Day 2) football does not need to be repackaged as comedy for people to watch it. The days of Fantasy Football League are long over and besides it was never a highlights programme so please get out of that mindset and treat The Football League Show like a show about the Football League. I never thought I would look on the days of Endsleigh League Extra on a Monday night as halcyon days but compared to The Football League Show they were truly great.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Tuckered out today, folks! I needed (yet another) doctor's appointment to deal with a touch of mouth bleeding and said appointment was made for half three. Suddenly, at not long after half nine, they rang to say the good doctor could not be arsed working this afternoon and my appointment was now for ten. Now, the surgery is a good 15 minutes from my house if you hurry and I was still in bed at this point (and indeed had only been properly asleep for about an hour as for some reason I couldn't get off last night) so that gave me less than 15 minutes to get up and get a wash before practically running down the road, with breakfast sacrificed. To make matters worse two separate boot laces snapped as I was trying to get ready and I was left with no option but to wear a pair of shoes that I blame for the fascist foot thing. A gel heel thing that was supposed to relieve some of the pain proved to be very much in chocolate fireguard territory but somehow I made it on time...only to be left sitting for fifteen minutes. Why make an appointment for ten if you have no intention of seeing me at ten?! By this point I was a complete zombie and the appointment was a bit of a waste really - I was given some mouthwash thing for bleeding gums but I can remember little of the appointment itself apart from not being able to remember most of what I was there for. I appreciate that GPs are overworked but is it too much to ask to be given reasonable notice of an appointment, particularly in a situation where you have not suggested at any point that your problem is an emergency one? I'm perfectly pleased to be seen on the day I look for an appointment but giving me little more than 20 minutes warning is just taking the piss. Quite frankly I would rather have waited a couple of days to be seen rather than have to do a Flash routine to an appointment that I was never likely to be compos mentis for anyway. A trip into town afterwards was probably not a good idea either. Sheesh, where's my condemned sign?!

But enough about that. I must say that new thing in the sidebar that tells me where people reading this are from (as stolen from [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks) is rather nifty. I have no idea why I seem to be attracting comparatively high levels of readership from the north-east of the United States, particularly given my critical leanings towards good ol' Uncle Sam, but it's nice to know that somebody is reading this dross. Similarly, until now I had never even heard of Heerhugowaard but a very good day to whichever resident of said North Frisian city passed this way. It really is a small world.

Well, that's enough for now. If you'll excuse me I must go off and collapse into bed.

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keresaspa

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