Cor blimey

Jul. 17th, 2013 10:13 pm
keresaspa: (Albert Gladstone Trotter)
Hello you. Yes it was London time again recently but I got back too late last night to record my exploits. Never fear, I'm here now to "entertain" the reading some with every minor detail. "Enjoy".

Hit it )
keresaspa: (Jimmy Edwards)
With my usual teams either not at home or not in action today I decided to take a walk on the wild side by checking out one of the Intermediate Cup third round matches being played. I did consider the possibility of following Cliftonville Olympic to their game at Dundela, one of the few grounds relatively close to where I live (three miles on the nose, according to Google Maps), but its East Belfast location ruled it out immediately, given that it has been virtually a warzone over there since the Christmas holidays ended. Lucky I did in the end as the UVF shot up the cops today just down the road from Wilgar Park. Nice. Sport & Leisure were at home in the same competition according to one source but their website knew nothing about it and I didn't fancy a trek out to the Glen Road for nothing so I ruled them out and was left with the choice of Brantwood-Banbridge Town, Grove United-Dollingstown, Immaculata-Carrick Rangers or Queen's University-Annagh United. My bad foot meant that distance precluded me from going to Grove United (who are just on the cusp on Newtownabbey despite being named after an area of inner city north Belfast) or Queen's (whose ground is nowhere near the actual uni) and so on a whim I decided to plump for Brantwood as Immaculata's Grosvenor Leisure Centre home is a bit too crap for me to count as a genuine ground visited. As such I took the stroll down to the Shore Road, my progress impeded only once when I reached York Street and had to permit passage to a mob of Union Jack-wielding morons on their way to the weekly nuisnace outside the City Hall. Mostly children - no indoctrination going on there.

Brantwood's Skegoneill Avenue ground is something of a relic. For years it hosted B Division football but the club always struggled for support, in part because Crusaders are just a couple of hundred yards away and in part because loyalists across Northern Ireland, never mind Belfast, are attracted automatically to Linfield. As such Brantwood voluntarily dropped out of the Irish League a few years back and now play, inexplicably, in the Ballymena and Provincial League. Equally inexplicable is the fact that the headquarters of Duncairn Homing Pigeon Society are located on one corner of the ground, although given that we are in solid loyal territory here and pigeon clubs were frequently used as cover for paramilitary bases it doesn't take a genius to work that one out. Inside the ground was probably better than Sport & Leisure's but it was in terrible order, paint peeling from the stands, corrugated iron roofs rusting and the grass around them a boggy morass. A bit of elbow grease could probably drag it up to a decent standard (for NI) but being forced to leave the Irish League has damaged the psyche of Brantwood so whilst it could be done, what would be the point?

The game itself was of a pretty woeful standard, albeit end to end stuff. I actually saw Banbridge Town play at Glen Road Heights last November and whilst they weren't great there, they appear to have gotten worse as theoretically they should have put Brantwood to bed easily. Instead Brantwood took a very early lead and, after a sustained period of Banbridge pressure, somehow went 2-0 up against their more illustrious opponents. Anger and disappointment set in early with the crowd, which was totally dominated by Banbridge and their comparatively large travelling support (about forty or fifty people - a veritable throng at this level), although they were assuaged somewhat when one of their many and generally inconsequential attacks ended in a penalty award, although them to go in only 2-1 down at half time.

There are a bunch of pitches behind the ground where football at an even lover level is played and during half-time and lulls in the match before me I was able to turn round and watch a blood and guts park game between two very noisy and committed sides wearing the kits of Celtic and Atletico Madrid. A bit of digging around has since revealed that the teams were Ballysillan Elim and Shamrock II, although some of the language on display was less than Pentecostal. Enough to make a sailor blush, I tell you.

The second half got under way with the heavens opening and the culchies showing their class with half time substitute Stevie O'Neill scoring twice in fairly quick succession. Still the basketball style revelry was soon back on as Brantwood conjured up an equaliser from somewhere, only for the other mob to nab the winner ten minutes from time. By the end the Banbridge keeper had time to watch the pigeon loft as Brantwood failed to put on the pressure they needed due to a combination of poor positioning and ill discipline. With the raining now belting down the final whistle went and Banbridge had a 4-3 win and a passage to round four, although Brantwood can feel satisfied in matching a higher up team for much of the match and Banbridge will have their work cut out if they are to win their first Intermediate Cup since 1986.

So all things considered this was a good laugh in a grim way. Brantwood's ground is a complete throwback but, despite their diminishing fortunes, I'm glad it's still standing and that they're still plugging away, even if it is in the Ballymena League. I'm unlikely to return any time soon as I really only went to tick them off my bucket list but it was good fun while it lasted.
keresaspa: (Obelix)
It seems my head has now got itself into the mindset that Saturday afternoon must be spent watching live football rather than my previous routine of watching Jeff Stelling watch live football. However today there was one problem, and that is that thanks to the Royal Black[shirts] Preceptory the last Saturday in August is always a total bust in Belfast. Officially that's not the case as everything is open as normal but the streets are taken over by these hoary old bigots and due to the sectarian intransigence of the mouthbreathing lumpen flute bands that follow the old bastards this year violence ensued. With all that in mind, and seeing as my route to Solitude passes through Donegall Street, I was loathe to go up to Cliftonville and with Donegal Celtic having played last night I was left with few options.

However a quick google of the lower divisions provided the answer - Sport & Leisure Swifts were at home against Ballyclare Comrades in the IFA Championship 2. What do you mean you've never heard of Sport & Leisure Swifts?! To tell the truth neither had I but their ground being on the Glen Road Heights, not far from DC, meant that it would avoid north Belfast entirely and trouble would be unlikely due to it being deep in Fenianland. So off I went.

Admittedly I don't know the Glen Road very well and, whilst I had sussed it out a bit on Google Maps, my laptop absolutely hates Google Maps and freezes constantly when I use it so I had to abandon that avenue without the full knowledge. Fortunately I spied the sign for the ground from the black taxi but quickly found that it was located near the top of the mountain up an eerie dirt road. The IFA Championship 2 is the third-highest tier of football in Northern Ireland but by the standards of England you're talking around Mid-Sussex League standard so whilst the one tiny stand looked a bit crappy I was actually pleasantly surprised that it was any more than an open field. Certainly however this was the highest ground I've ever been to and quite probably the highest (and windiest) in Belfast.

As a town/village/hamlet Ballyclare is effectively Newtownabbey's arsehole but to be fair to the Comrades they are slumming it a bit in the Championship 2 and would really be more suited to life in the next division up. As a result of the 80 or so hearty souls that scaled Divis mountain to witness the spectacle probably about sixty of them were bumpkin visitors there to cheer on the Comrades. For my part I had no idea who was who, being unfamiliar with football at this level and it took me about half an hour before I had worked out which team was which (the home side wore red but the Comrades' supporters wore red scarves and they outnumbered the home fans so I got confused). The standard of play was pretty dreadful, even compared to what I'm used to with a lot of ball-chasing by both sides and a lot of the players getting heavy sweats on and going down with cramp. If you hear me denigrating that efforts of DC or Cliftonville in future remind me of this. As always happens when I go to a match the away side dominated the first half without scoring, although much of that seemed to be because Swifts were made up of mostly teenagers, padded out with a couple of older, fatter chaps. Their number nine in particular, as seen in the middle of this image, was possibly the shortest footballer I've ever seen and would have had to look up to headbutt Dennis Wise on the chin. West Belfasters in general are small people, unlike us strapping South-Eastenders, but even the local shorties were calling this dude wee man. Comrades had their own hooligan firm, made up of about four teenagers, one of whom attempted to get into slanging matches with a couple of home fans but he was such a little shrimp that he elicited only laughter. A slap round the bap would have done him the power of good but I was only a guest and he didn't look at me sideways so I couldn't get involved.

When the second half came round Ballyclare began to make their dominance tell and scored twice to establish an insurmountable lead. Swifts tried a half-hearted rally late on but they never looked like scoring and in the end Ballyclare might have won by more than 2-0 had it not been for their own wastefulness in front of goal and a good save by Swifts keeper. All in all a good laugh though. It is unquestionably the lowest level of football I have ever paid to attend but there was something grimly honest about the whole experience. Whilst Glen Road Heights is unlikely to ever become my first port of call on a Saturday afternoon if I find myself at a loose end again I might seek it out once more.
keresaspa: (Shakuni (Gufi Paintal))
[Poll #1769171]

Well everybody else has had a go at these so I might as well, seeing as this is, after all, the most important thing to happen in years apparently. As I have already stated a lot of those involved were great sludgers and reet rotters but the way things are this sort of reaction is no surprise and will inevitably continue. We are faced with a government that has put itself at war with its own poor. At a time of rampant unemployment it has turned on the weakest members of society, seeking to take constantly from the bottom rungs by denying access to benefits, making it impossible for people to afford housing and yet seeking to criminalise homelessness, denying those without money access to justice by cutting legal aid and encouraging the creation of a culture where people are being forced to give away their labour for free, either through the so-called New Deal, internships in which people have to do somebody's paid work for nothing or the ultimate oxymoron of Dave's Big Society in which volunteering is compulsory. You can dress forced unpaid work in whatever terms you want but slavery will always breed resentment. Some of this might be justified if we were in a full employment situation but we are a million miles away from that with many more to end up out of work in the not too distant future. It also demonstrates the short-sighted idiocy of the government that they are actually considering evicting rioters from their houses and stopping their benefits. Yes, total poverty is a great way to convince people not to turn to crime. Meanwhile a much bigger problem, that of tax avoidance by the super rich, something that costs the state a hell of a lot more than benefit fraud, is ignored because the Conservative Party will only ever attack the poor. But this isn't just the Tories who are at fault here - witness the BBC sending its chief goblin Dominic Littlewood out to expose those evil scumbags who are fraudulently claiming an extra tenner a week and yet telling us that we should be impressed by wonderful capitalists like James Caan whom we should all celebrate for their entirely legal frauds (like you don't defraud too, Bannatyne) and attempts to purchase human beings.

Of course there remains a hardcore of wannabe bourgeoisie who feel that all rioters are wicked scum and want those nice heroes of the army brought out to dish some Ballymurphy massacre style peacekeeping to the lower orders. The problem with these are that many of them are not the middle classes that they think they are and that will only get worse as wages continue to freeze whilst prices rise. Before long people like that should realise that they are much more under threat from the government than a bunch of misguided young idiots attacking shops and should themselves oppose instead of clucking their tongues and moaning about property values. Assuming they're not too busy reading Heat magazine and going to Starbucks to notice I suppose.

At the risk of repeating what I have said previously treat people like animals and they will act like them. The government is intent on pursuing Social Darwinism but it should know that even weakest rat will attack when backed into a corner and the more rats they insist on backing into corners the more they will have to be prepared for this to happen again. Monetarist governments breed violent societies, as Thatcher and Pinochet have proven in the past, and it was naive to think that putting in cuts-happy Cameron would not have the same effect when experience has demonstrated that it would. Besides one glimpse of the sort of smug, posh-boy, Tory tossery demonstrated by that bastard Michael Gove on Newsnight recently would be enough to make any sane person smash things up. Like one Peter Lilley wasn't enough without son of Lilley being inflicted upon us.

Now can we maybe stop hearing about this whole business as it's getting old.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
I'm not going to waste too many of my words on the riots going on over the puddle. After all when Belfast breaks out in its annual carnage session nobody over there bats an eyelid so why should I worry myself when the reverse is true? I will just say that it is truly shocking what has happened over there? I mean who would ever have thought that if you spend years treating people like worthless animals that they might then turn round and act like animals? Mind-boggling. And by all means send the army in against them as it is the duty of a government to turn its killing machine on its own citizens rather than listen to any grievances they might have. It's not the revolution either unfortunately - no proper cause or a figureheads to provide direction, too many hoods turning against their own rather than the government and filth and too many wannabe bourgeoisie tut-tutting at these "yobs" and supporting the establishment that is screwing them too. And one other thing - will the papers stop using the headline "Anarchy" for all this. I'm not an anarchist but the punks have a lot to answer for by ensuring that the unrelated concepts of anarchy and chaos have now become synonymous in the "minds" of tabloid hacks. True anarchy would be a utopian paradise where law and domination are not needed rather than chaos. Still, just as well the powers that be only read Shitter and Facepoop and don't bother with Livejournal or else I might be arrested for inciting violence through this post. You've gotta love our masters and it's disgusting that anybody should dare disobey them. And yes hoods are bad eggs before any Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells decides to hurl their ire in my direction (assuming anybody reads this crap any more).

In more important news (for me anyway, unless that bonfire I saw on Divis Street was the start of conflagrations here too and I could use a new cooker come to think of it) I see that Albion have signed Shane Long. He's not a player I know a lot about to be honest but I suppose we do need somebody to take the pressure off Odemwingie a bit. Mind you defence was the problem last season and there is still no sign of anybody coming in there. Woy's still the man at this stage but I really hope he has something lined up on that score as some of the goals Albion let in last season were just awful and as the Tatters will testify bringing in a forward from Reading is no guarantee you wont struggle. Unless of course the whole season has to be cancelled because of a few riots and then the entire issue will be moot anyway. Nowhere copes with a crisis quite like England!
keresaspa: (Diggory)
None of the tens of thousands of readers who come to this august source of news every hour will have been surprised by the UVF riot last night. After all, it was already covered here that the boys were busy painting new murals, holding flute band marches and threatening potential pub buyers so it was obvious that they were girding up for some renewed action. In a way you have to feel sorry for the UVF as they just haven't been able to carve out a post-ceasefire niche in the same way their fellow Combined Loyalist Military Command chums in the UDA have. Sure now and again Ulster Young Militants will be sent out to petrol bomb the odd Fenian near Tiger's Bay or White City but even those little sorties have dried up a tad since Grugg bought it on his way back from Ibrox and Jimbo Simpson decided to start taking his Bacardi in England's green and pleasant land rather than North Queen Street. Instead the UDA have been able to transform themselves into your one stop shop for grant-guzzling Ulster-Scots "community projects", open top bus tours, ecstasy and general racketeering. But what for the poor old UVF? After all, running black taxis will only kill so many hours. They need something to do, the poor little dears, so turning on the nearest left-footer enclave seems as good a way as any to put the day in. The fast-fading Progressive Unionist Party will no doubt continue to tell us that they are socialists but how they can square their socialism with the naked sectarian aggression of their armed wing is anybody's guess, unless of course they're thinking of the socialism of Gregor Strasser and Ernst Röhm. There was a time when the Short Strand would have resisted a handful of pissed-up looters with ease but unfortunately their now-führerprinzip obsessed Sinn Fein masters are too busy providing leadership (ceannasaiocht) from their ivory tower in Stormont to care about something as petty as this and the Provos are themselves too busy drawing salaries from their MLA mates to lead any defence. So a summer of fun in store for the good people of Mountpottinger with ceannasaiocht conspicuous by its absence. Still, look on the bright side - it's lashing tonight and uve uniforms might not be waterproof!
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
Message to the wonderful Mr. Cameron - if you think that the peacelines should come down then I say why don't you come over and do it and whilst you're at it get yourself a little house at the reopened Northumberland Street. I'm sure the hoods from the Shankill and Falls would be happy to set their differences aside in order to unite to knock your pan in. Heck, even the Continuity IRA and the Red Hand Defenders might be friends for that day. There's no doubt about it, the peacelines are a bloody nuisance. Sometimes when I'm on the Falls I would love to take a stroll up Conway Street and stop in for half a shandy at the Berlin Arms and it would be wonderful to be able to saunter from Upper to Lower Ardoyne without having to endure the dubious delights of lower Ballysillan but the fact remains that interfaces like these are much too dangerous for the residents to be left open and it's not Dave's arse, nor those of Robin$on and McGuinne$$, that are on the line here. Having taken Lanark Way from the Woodvale to the Springfield and braved the dubious pleasures of leaving the Highfield estate to get to New Barnsley via Springmartin Road I can assure the Tory blow-in that these interfaces are about as hairy as they come and even they have gates for when things get too dodgy. Opening the small streets that are kept apart by the walls on the other hand would just be inviting nightly riots as the hoods would only need to leave their front door to find their targets. Still if he wants to go and present his arguments at some delightful interface hostelry like the Highfield Rangers Club or Caulfield's then I'm sure he would find the welcome warm. Or if not the welcome certainly the petrol bombs being hurled after him. Besides if they opened Cluan Place where would the Thornlie Boys be able to pose like a couple of bald simpletons? Pretend as the elite might that the Troubles are over and everybody is friends now the same problems are as ripe on the ground as they ever were so alas for now the walls are a necessary evil and Cameron coming over laying down the law does not help. And am I the only one wondering how the former Quartermaster of the Provisional IRA could stand beside a cuts-hungry bastard like Cameron and grin like a ninny when he should have been wasting the biatch? Oh that's right, the money, I forgot. The principles of republicanism are one thing but they don't pay the bills like all that lovely British wonga, do they Mart?


Apr. 3rd, 2009 12:21 am
keresaspa: (Stan Ogden)
I must confess that I have not taken a great interest in this whole G20 business. A few years ago I imagine I would have gotten quite worked up about the whole thing but these days I find it difficult to really care about this sort of thing. The protests are as far back as ever and will ultimately have no impact as these cosseted leaders are too far above mere mortals to take any heed of a bunch of yahoos smashing a couple of windows. Marie Antoinette had nothing on the current mob of kiss-stealing, wheeling, dealing, jet-flying, limousine-riding sons of guns who make Ric Flair look like Francis of Assisi. Their great rescue plan looks like an exercise in throwing money at a completely ruined system whilst tossing out a bunch of vague platitudes about restricting those bad bankers, without offering anything really concrete. Fiddling whilst Rome burns, it would have been called in the good old days. Plus the motives of the protesters are, as always, open to question. I don't doubt that there were a lot of well-meaning people present (although the sanctimonious climate change mob do get on my tits a tad) but I suspect a good few were there because they fancied a bit of a riot and I equally suspect that some of the right-on beautiful people wearing their designer sandals sourced exclusively from the b-hair of Nicaraguan fishermen are the same wacky funsters who will be making their millions as merchant bankstains when all this is but a memory and the same old mistakes are being made all over again.

Of course this being 21st century Britain even something that the news seems to thing is the most momentous thing to happen to the earth since it was created on the 23rd October 4004 BC cannot be fully handled with gravitas. Instead we are lumbered with the return of without doubt the most hideous concept ever - the political WAG. Of course I blame it on that blow-up doll lookalike "singer" who towers over the Little Man Who Can't at these functions but this time it is a different matter - the new Messiah's consort has come to town. God bless our own Sarah Brown for being truly glamorous in a buck-toothed, only one step away from a quare auld toss sort of way but the day belonged to the radiant and splendid Michelle Obama who could only have been more fragrantly elegant had she been sporting the halo that such grace and ethereal beauty so truly deserves. Except that the two bruisers together look to me less the fluffy fashion plates that the media wanted and more the sort of violent centre-back partnership from the late 70s that would have sought to smash the legs of Kenny Dalglish had Liverpool been drawn to face their team (Plymouth Argyle perhaps, or maybe Scunthorpe) in the FA Cup. I'm not sure if Michelle Obama is being lauded as the new Jackie O simply because she is married to Him and everything that He is associated with is above criticism but to my eyes she looks the sort of woman that I imagine would have little problem in throwing even a lump of lead like me over her shoulder. Less glam than slam from where I'm sitting, although perhaps that's what turns on the seedy little men who write columns about these political WAGs.

And yes, I am aware of the irony of me branding people "seedy little men" for doing something that I have just done but hypocrisy is as rife round here as anywhere.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Love Ulster. With a name like that it can only be trouble really. A group created by professional victim Willie Frazer that seeks to paint Northern Ireland as a place where lovely God-fearing, Queen-worshipping loyalists have had to face years of oppression from evil republicans just for being different. Yes, the same Willie Frazer who had "a lot of time" for Billy Wright. Calling your group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives and then only acting for those killed by the IRA says it all about Willie - people killed by loyalists or the security forces don't matter shite! So now there's a whole song and dance because they didn't get free reign in Dublin. What exactly did they expect? The Orange Order might have carte blanche to stomp all over Northern Ireland but Frazer and his cronies can't really have thought that something like that wasn't going to happen. Cheap publicity and a chance to take the moral high-ground. Alright, so the scangers went on the rampage after it but people using things to go buck-mad is a feature of all riots. It's time they realised that the days of National Front marches from the Shankill to the City Hall are gone and that outside of this bigoted little hell-hole they can't just suit themselves. Love Ulster?! Hate everybody who doesn't agree with us, more like.

Little more to say. I've been attempting to clear up that essay but having gone out Saturday night instead of Friday I still feel a bit hungover and have got nowt done. Ah well, it looks like a mondo session of writing tomorrow. Fun all the way.

Time to go

Nov. 10th, 2005 05:01 pm
keresaspa: (Salvador Allende)

Is it any surprise that Tony B. Liar would react to his defeat in the 'lets suspend habeas corpus and lock people up because we don't like their faces' bill. Rather than accept his defeat with good grace and (God forbid) admit that he was wrong, he launches into the MPs and starts rhyming about how they are out touch with public opinion. Well, tough titty Tony! Nobody forced you to become Prime Minister in a system that is based fully on the supremacy of a majority in Parliament. If you don't like it, do the decent thing and get the hell out. When even Michael Howard is scoring points off you it must be obvious that your time is over. On your bike, Tone! You've had your run and now it's time to quit while you're way behind. Some chance of that happening.

Meanwhile, the riots in France continue. It's not difficult to see why it has happened. Like Britain, France went around the world taking over countries and now doesn't have a clue what to do with the people it once dominated when they turn up on their doorstep. Les Beurs live in squalor and are denied their cultural heritage by a repressive government. Like good old Blighty the automatic reaction of the government is to go in ham-fisted with repression coupled with a few half-arsed promises of improving conditions. Unsurprisingly Dominique de Villepin has already trotted out the old line about unfettered immigration being to blame, and of course LePen wasted no time joining in on the 8th November. Try heavy handed Muslim-hating cops as usual. The Union des organisations islamiques de France has already issued a fatwa against the rioting, so it's pretty clear that this runs deeper than the government is prepared to admit. The less said about Nicolas Sarkozy's contribution to the debate the better. When a populist law-and-order prig who makes New Labour look spin free talks about people being racaille" (scum), he's hardly doing anything to help an already powder-keg situation. Like the PCF say, if the politicos stopped their knee-jerk reactions and put a bit of effort into really tackling poverty, discrimination and segregation instead of just paying lip service then things like this wouldn't happen. I'd love to say Blair take not but that ain't gonna happen. If he wont listen to his own party telling him that his time is up, he'll hardly listen to France giving him a taste of what Britain can expect unless it pulls it's finger out.

BTW for anybody who is still reading down this far (and I'm sure they might even be one of you) can you enlighten me what these 'My LJ' and 'Your Scrapbook' larks are that have invaded the side of my screen. Any help would be appreciated. Mushy peas.
keresaspa: (Cheesey with big moustache)
I hadn't intended to come out here today but there was something that had to be done and it preyed on my mind a bit last night so I had to get down and do it. Nothing major or nothing for you to worry about, dear reader, merely some work-related annoyance that couldn't be allowed to lie until Monday. Most annoying as I'm now hemmed in here for a while until the school children go away and allow me to get on the bus to Sainsburys. If there's one thing I really can't abide (and God knows there are plenty) it's being on a bus with a gaggle of schoolies. Things as simple as turning corners are treated like concepts so exciting and so alien to them that you get the feeling they've just beamed in from Zeta Rectuli or something. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I was never like them. I was as grim then as I am today. Added to that is the fact that just down the road from me was apparently a hive of rioting last night. Should be fun heading out for a few jars tonight, but such is life. You don't live 25 years in Belfast and expect to avoid all riots. Surprise, surprise, apparently it all stemmed from flags again, only this time it was loyalists getting pissed off at GAA flags in a republican district. That's rich coming from the people who fly about ten flags from every house in July and festoon their streets with bunting to boot. Less is more, folks. Of course the real reason is the usual one, boredom, but they always need to come up with an excuse to cover it. I've a heard a cop shop took a bit of a hammering. I'll be crying over that, I don't think!


keresaspa: (Default)

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