link log

Friday, June 30, 2006


And it's goodbye from him...

Maradona waves goodbye

Well, if you will take off Crespo and Riquelme, refuse to play Messi and try and ride out a 1-0 win by time wasting...



World Cup quarter final predictions

As the last eight teams prepare for their matches, I suppose I should make some predictions:

Germany Vs Argentina

Before the tournament started, you wouldn't have given Germany a prayer in this match. Indeed, the Germans second group game saw a distinctly unconvincing late victory over Poland, where as Argentina were destroying the team with the best qualifying defensive record in Europe, 6-0. However, since that game, Germany have started to impress with their forward play and kept two clean sheets, they now look dangerous with Ballack providing the assists and the two Poles up front topping the scoring charts. Argentina on the other hand have perhaps peaked too soon and only avoided the dreaded penalty shootout against an impressive Mexico side thanks to a miracle strike from Maxi Rodriguez. This is shaping up to be a fantastic game and is a real tough one to call. I'll go with Argentina but it all depends on how their midfield cope with Ballack, the other interesting battle is that of Lahm running at the hapless Scaloni - should be entertaining! If it goes to extra time and penalties, I think the Germans might well edge it, home support can never be underestimated; Argentina must win in 90 minutes.

Verdict: Argentina win.

Italy Vs Ukraine

Probably the least immediately enthralling of the four quarter finals on paper. Italy have been ruthless throughout and have already played some very good teams, teams much better than Ukraine in fact. Shevchenko has hardly set the World Cup alight and as the Ukraine's talisman he hasn't really performed, even missing a penalty in the shootout with Switzerland. The last time Ukraine met a decent team, they got beaten 4-0, whilst Italy do not pose the same attacking threat of Spain, I still can't see beyond them winning this match with ease. Defensively they have been superb and conceded just one goal so far, a feat equalled only by Brazil and Portugal.

Verdict: Italy win.

Tomorrow's predictions to follow.

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Monday, June 26, 2006


Newsnight dynamite

The political blogosphere is excitedly awaiting tonight's Newsnight interview with Charles Clarke, the former Home Secretary breaks his silence to talk of his time in office, his departure from the Cabinet and the performance of his successor, John Reid.

The BBC are claiming that what he has to say is "political dynamite".

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A visitor drops by the office

In possibly the most exciting event ever to ever happen at work, a pigeon has landed and remained sat upon our office window ledge for the last twenty minutes. He (or she - for we are currently unaware how to determine the gender of a pigeon) walks up and down, fluffs his/her feathers and then taps on the window with his/her little beak. Photo's available here:

I tried to talk to it but a puzzled expression suggested it couldn't understand my pigeon English (sorry, couldn't resist that).

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Sunday, June 25, 2006


Word of the day challenge excelled themselves with yesterday's 'word of the day':

Brobdingnagian\brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\, adjective:

Of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous.

The venture capital business has a size problem. A monstrous, staggering, stupefying one. Brobdingnagian even.
-- Russ Mitchell, "Too Much Ventured Nothing Gained", Fortune, November 11, 2002

Any savvy dealer . . . will try to talk you up to one of the latest behemoths, which have bloated to such Brobdingnagian dimensions as to have entered the realm of the absurd.
-- Jack Hitt, "The Hidden Life of SUVs", Mother Jones, July/August 1999

It's a great vocabulary expanding service - word of the day. The best part, is the challenge of remembering the word and it's meaning and attempting to use it in conversation within the 24 hours before recieving the next word of the day. I love my little challenges. The best part of the game though, far from being able to successfully use the word, is the reaction of the person/s in the conversation when you explain how a cockaigne ideal has never seemed so far away.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006


What striker shortage?

I don't know why everyone keeps going on about England only taking four strikers and now only having three since Owen has returned home. Everybody is foolishly overlooking the fifth striker, he's already with the squad in Germany, he's tall, strong and never out of the box.

His name?

David James!

Well, he has more Premiership experience as a striker than Theo Walcott.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Prediction results, England Vs Sweden

Jamie Carragher will have a solid game defensively but offer precious little going forward - he won't make double figures in terms of forward passes (that aren't hopeful punts).

Well, Carragher offered next to nothing going forward and barely played a single forward ball all night - I was correct in that prediction. I had expected him to be much more solid in defence though.

Verdict: Half right.

Ashley Cole will be the complete opposite, he will have an abysmal game defensively and frequently be at fault but will offer an outlet going forward and link up well with his namesake, Joe.

Ashley Cole certainly had an abysmal game in defensive terms but I was perhaps too optimistic in thinking he would be better going forwards.

Verdict: Half right.

John Terry will be sturdy in defence whilst his more flamboyant partner gets caught in possession more than once.

Terry had an absolute shocker and was worse than Rio.

Verdict: Incorrect.

Robinson will fluff a couple of catches from crosses and corners but will get away with it.

Robinson was guilty of a few mistakes and his play from corners and crosses was dreadful, I was wrong to think he'd get away with it!

Verdict: Half right.

I will moan about Beckham's inability to beat a man or tackle, he'll then pull out an incredible 60 yard pass and make me look an utter fool.

This was eerily accurate in that I spent a lot of time moaning about him and the only worthwhile thing he did all night was make a superb 60 yard pass to Rooney. That aside, he was a dire.

Verdict: Correct.

Crouch will come on and score.

He certainly came on - a little earlier than I was anticipating admittedly, he failed to score though.

Verdict: Incorrect.

Hargreaves will be solid enough but his distribution will let him down, we still won't know where we stand with him.

Hargreaves' performance (along with Joe Cole's) was one of the few positives to come out of the match, he was solid and covered a lot of ground. His distribution was unspectacular but he hardly gave the ball away at all. I think we are all a little wiser as to why he was selected now.

Verdict: Half right.

Lampard will get booked (resulting in him missing the next game).

Well, Frank didn't get booked; he didn't do anything at all in fact.

Verdict: Inorrect.

Linderoth and Alexandersson wil play infinitely better than they ever managed for Everton.

Linderoth was superb and effectively marked Lampard out of the game, Alexandersson though was poor - Joe Cole ran him ragged.

Verdict: Half right.

The match will finish 1-1.

It looked to be headed for this very scoreline until Gerrard popped up and consequently provoked a Swedish response. I was right in predicting a draw but can't justify giving myself even a 'half right'.

Verdict: Incorrect

TOTAL: (Assuming 1 point for a correct prediction, 0.5 for a half right one and 0 points for an incorrect prediction).

= 3.5

Not a good performance at all... and my predictions weren't up to much either.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Match predictions, England Vs Sweden

With just ninety minutes until England's final group game against Sweden kicks off, I'm going to stick my neck out and make a few predictions:
I fully expect you to hold me to these and ridicule me for my inaccuracies and negativity when the match is over.

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Monday, June 19, 2006


Technorati Tagging

I've been having a play around with Technorati and have (at last) come to understand both the reasons behind and procedures for post tagging - hence some posts will now feature a selection of tags at the end. Ok, as you were.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006


Black Horse Festival - better late than never

I intended posting about this at the time, for that would have been logical. I didn't though. So here it is! Three weeks late, the Black Horse Festival post.

A little background information - the festival is named after the pub where it is based in Telham, near Hastings, East Sussex. It occurs annually over the last weekend in May, starting on Friday night and running through to Monday night. 2006 was the 17th year of the festival; I estimate that I've been to around 10 of those.

As usual, the line-up was nothing if not eclectic, I selected the best sessions from my point of view - Friday night and Sunday night. Friday saw playing: The Rob Tognoni Band, Nelson King and The Wilko Johnson Band, whilst Sunday night featured: The Tabs (Acoustic), Shooglenifty and Blue Horses. The highlights were both headline acts.

The Wilko Johnson Band consist of Wilko himself (formerly of Dr Feelgood) on vocals and guitar, Norman Watt-Roy (of the Blockheads) on bass and former Jesus And Mary Chain drummer, Steve Monti. I was already sure that the rhythm section would be fantastic, just from looking at the artists and bands both Monti and Watt-Roy have worked with - Curve and Gang of Four, The Clash and Nick Cave being the most impressive respectively. What I wasn't prepared for though, was Wilko himself. His uniquely choppy style (others have 'chopped' but none so effectively) and yappy vocals combined brilliantly, the band were incredibly tight as you'd expect. You can see a video of the band performing from way back when, here on YouTube.

Blue Horses were an altogether different act. Described by the BBC as being "probably the only Celtic-rock-folk-heavy-metal-goth band around", they're quite possibly right. No doubt you are now thinking - there's a good reason why they're "probably the only Celtic-rock-folk-heavy-metal-goth band around". I don't think I could listen to a whole Blue Horses album (which is where I differ from Mojo magazine who made them album of the month and Classic Rock magazine who named them best of 2005) but in a live enviroment they make for enchanting viewing and great fun. Besides, where else can you hear a medley of celtic-goth songs played on electric harp, electric violin and space mandolin?

Having finally now signed up to Flickr, you can see some photos of the festival here.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006


The World Cup, days 1 and 2

Having successfully seen off the 'summer cold', i've hastily put together a scrappy post about my feelings thus far on the World Cup:

I've been avidly watching all the matches so far, by some distance; the best match has been last night's between Argentina and the Ivory Coast. It was a fantastic spectacle, really open, with some great skill on display from both teams. Ivory Coast look strong and pacy, a team of real athletes - Everton could do with signing a few Ivorians! Argentina looked like they were coasting for a lot of the game, they were deft, clinical and incisive, my pre-tournament thoughts that they were the real challengers to Brazil looks correct. As I also suspected, Holland might well not get out of this group. I can see them faltering to Serbia - who only conceded ONE goal in qualifying (and that was to Spain) and they will be lucky to take points from Argentina and the Ivory Coast on last night's performance. The Holland camp has already seen a few internal arguments - well, it is tradition isn't it, this will surely be a contributing factor. Group C seems to be by far the most interesting group.

England were very disappointing yesterday but the heat must have been a factor, especially with the opposition being a South American team - more used to the heat and effective in keeping possession. I felt that both England wingbacks were poor, Ashley Cole was particularly woeful and Paraguay were getting a lot of joy attacking him down the right. He offered us next to nothing going forward so I would have advocated taking him off for much more solid Carragher, Cole just doesn't look fit. Nor for that matter did Michael Owen, which is why it was strange he was taken off so early - surely if he's low on match fitness, he needs more time on the pitch to get back to the appropriate level? And why take him off for another midfielder and invite pressure on to ourselves? If Walcott isn't good enough to come on, Sven shouldn't have taken him ahead of Defoe and Bent or at least taken one of those two in addition to Walcott and at the expense of the redundant Jenas. Baffling! As was the decision to bring on Hargreaves ahead of Carrick...

As usual, the second half saw England settle on their lead and defend the game out whilst foolishly giving the ball away cheaply at almost every opportunity, Robinson was particularly guilty of this with his poor distribution and refusal to hold on to the ball for longer than 3 seconds. It doesn't bode well for the rest of the tournament but we don't play anymore games so early in the afternoon now and the players have got that difficult first game out of the way - we hadn't won an opening game since beating Tunisia 2-0 in France '98. The biggest help has been Sweden's failure to beat a determined Trinidad and Tobago side, meaning England can guarantee qualification to the second round with a win over T&T on Thursday. Hopefully after running themselves in to the ground against Sweden, the players will be tired, we shouldn't bank on that though and need a confidence boosting performance ahead of a tough game with Sven's homeland. Positively, no-one in Group A looks overly impressive and hopefully England can count on making the quarter finals at the least.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Overdriven guitars, dreamy vocals and Olbas Oil

Summer has arrived, it truly has. I can tell you this because I have developed my traditional 'summer cold', this time-honoured illness serves as the perfect barometer - it's also a major annoyance. I won't bore you with further details.

The good news though, and something which is most soothing in my time of need, is this fabulous post from MarsNeedsGuitars. A collaborative post from a variety of music bloggers, it sees the participants name their favourite shoegaze track and includes a brief story as to why it is their favourite, you can download every song listed. Just the ticket then for a miserable, snotty, Tuesday.

Turn up Chapterhouse and wait for winter.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Big Brother Lookalikes #003

I have created a monster, this series could run and run, much like the programme itself then...

The latest lookalikes brought to my attention:

Big Brother lookalikes

We have Imogen, the dull Welsh princess who is the spitting image of actress Ally Sheedy. Fellow Welsh housemate Glynn, who has more than a passing resemblance to Scottish tennis prodigy Andy Murray and finally transvestite Sam who's red cheeks see her looking a LOT like Rosie of Rosie and Jim fame.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Big Brother Lookalikes #002

Another collection of Big Brother lookalikes from a more creative perspective.

I'll name the people pictured, for they're not exactly A-List (not that A-List either). First is Limahl the singer in Kajagoogoo - a perfect match with Sezer the sadly now evicted, sex-dwarf. Next up is another Grace lookalike, it's ex-Eastender Susan Tully everyone! Finally we have a further doppelganger for Nikki, in the divine (grayscale) shape of Jane of Rod, Jane and Freddy fame.

Good work team. Let's keep this up.