link log

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Bellamy in trouble?

Who could have foreseen that happening? Yes, this is the story that on Liverpool's team break to Portugal, Craig Bellamy took offence to John Arne-Riise's reluctance to take part in the karaoke and later attacked the Norwegian with a golf club in a drunken frenzy.

Liverpool FC are refusing to comment on the story.

Prolix wonders if it was a big or a small club.

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Friday, February 16, 2007


Champagne (Supernova) Socialist

You have to laugh. Noel Gallagher has come out with a scathing attack on Prime Minsister Blair (all attacks on the PM are scathing these days). After being wooed by our Tone at number 10 back in those heady days of '97 when we were on the crest of change and things could only get better ... blah blah ... Cool Brittania etc. Noel has seemingly changed his opinion on the former Ugly Rumours frontman and in the style of his and his brother's usual 'we have another dire dad-rock album coming out and need some coverage, I'll make a derogative comment about the current music scene' technique has sought to cast aspersions on Blair's performance. If it's as bad as Oasis were at the Brits, he's in real trouble. Noel's got form of this of course, there were the infamous comments that Jack White looks like Zorro with a doughnut addiction and that George (Harrison) was always the quiet Beatle - maybe he should keep that up. His brother has said that Chris Martin looks like a geography teacher (he had to get one right, though the line itself might well be borrowed from Marcus Brigstocke), Radiohead are a bunch of Morris dancers and then on Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters - "I’m more entertaining than that cocksucker. And I’ll rip his fucking vocal chords out any day because he’s fucking rubbish." Nice. I find that homophobic outbursts in the NME always help me sell my new album.

Even the headline from the BBC story makes me choke with laughter:

"Oasis's Noel attacks Blair record"

Noel is in the proverbial glasshouse if he's going to start attacking people's records. If the PM had had the misfortune to sit through Be Here Now then we could easily be switching some of the words around to make the equally legitimate headline - Labour's Tony attacks Oasis record.

But then it gets better! Gallagher goes on to say that David Cameron is "no different" from Blair and that he is "like a songwriter who's eternally ripping off someone else's song".

Oh dear, oh dear. Noel has moved out of the glasshouse and into a bloody glass mansion with that one. It is well known that Oasis are rivalling the Bootleg Beatles as the nation's favourite tribute act to the fab-four and that their songs have often borrowed from T-Rex and The Stones (Noel has even admitted that the melody for Live Forever was ripped off the Stones' Shine A Light).

So to sum up, we have a fading rock star fronting a useless band of has beens. And then we have Noel Gallagher.

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Seven Things

Patroclus has found herself completing a meme - Seven Things. It's as self-explanatory as the instructions for making toast and I have five minutes to kill, so here we go:

Seven Things I Have Wanted To Be

1. A pedal steel guitar maestro
2. A journalist (it was short lived)
3. An MP (that as well)
4. Better able to grow sideburns
5. More comfortable in social situations 
6. A footballer (because *that's* original)
7. A faster reader

Seven Things I Have Been

1. An electrical engineering apprentice (for three months)
2. A shoegazer (and the use of the past tense here is factually incorrect)
3. A Frosties competition winner
4. Long haired
5. A bronze medal winning member of the England junior Karate squad
6. The proud manager of an all conquering football team (on Football Manager)
7. Rejected for a skateboarder...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Linklog pruning

I've updated the linklog for the first time in over a year. Gone are Guido Fawkes, Nick Robinson and Jawbox.

Robinson and Jawbox update too infrequently (yes, I appreciate that this is slightly hypocritical) and the former hardly needs the traffic. The more prolific Guido has been dropped as a result of the done to death saga that was 'Blog Wars!' I didn't feel that he came out of it very well at all and that's an understatement.

Added is The Spine, a daily updated satirical take on current issues - but it's better than that rather generic description suggests. A lot better.


Nothing says happy Valentines like child poverty

Today saw the publication of a UNICEF report on the performance of 21 industrialised countries in child well-being. Titled ‘Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries’, the report looks at the performance of countries over 40 indicators based largely on 2000-2003 data.

The findings did not show the United Kingdom in the best light, ranked 21st; the UK was in the bottom third for five of the six categories. In fact, closer reading of the standard deviation tables reveals that there is a greater distance between the UK in 21st and Hungary in 19th than there is between 9th and 19th.

It could have been worse, there were more countries which out performed the UK but as there was insufficient data in other categories, they had to be omitted from the final comparison.

The particular findings that struck me were that only 40% of UK children consider their peers to be kind and helpful, the figure for Switzerland was double this at 80% and child poverty in the UK has doubled since 1979. The UK fares terribly in terms of risk behaviours, particularly in cannabis use, drinking to drunkenness and underage sex. There’s a message to social conservatives in there as well, in that the UK has a far higher percentage of children smoking cannabis than the Netherlands (whose accessibility to drugs is much vaunted and often disparagingly so). We also have a higher number of children who have been drunk than the tabloid favourite stereotypical beer swilling Germans and a higher number of sexually active children than countries with lower ages of consent (Spain, Portugal to name but two).

On the positive side of things – almost within living memory, 1 child in every 5 in the cities of Europe could be expected to die before their fifth birthday; today, this risk is less than 1 in 100.

Finding internationally comparable data must have taken a considerable amount of work for UNICEF; it’s often the case that different local authorities in the UK report on slightly a different basis - let alone trying to collate, analyse and present data for 21 countries. The report impresses in other ways to, UNICEF recognise and indeed highlight any potential risks to the data quality. For example, the use of vehicles per household is used as an indicator of family affluence but as the report rightly states, this figure would be affected by the level of urbanisation and the quality of public transport within the country.

So to sum up - move to Scandinavia...


A quick evening browse through the right leaning blogs suggests that my praise of UNICEF isn’t similarly felt by the increasingly predictable Conservative Home, the recently maligned Iain Dale or (the new to me) Tim Worstall. The position of Tory Home and Dale in particular seems largely based on one element of the 52 page report, an element that was barely even touched upon within the document itself but brought up via the media interpretation of the UK’s pitiful showing - the administration responsible. In the same spirit as my (possibly paranoid) staunch defences of Everton football club, Dale especially has rubbished the findings of the entire report on the basis that Thatcher couldn’t possibly be in anyway responsible. Now, I don’t see as Labour can spin their way out of this either - they had served almost an entire period of office during the period that this data is based on - but the Conservative government from 79 to 97 at best contributed to the appalling state of affairs and at worst are largely responsible for it.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


3-0 on Aggregate - not bad for a "small club".

"You could see one team that wanted to win and one who didn’t want to lose. It is not easy when they play narrow and deep .It makes it difficult to create chances and you just have to keep going. When you play against small clubs, they always try to do the same thing."
- As said by Rafa Benitez after yesterdays 205th Merseyside derby.

[I'm going to try and keep this brief. Far too much of this blog is me going off on one about anti-Everton press comments.]

If Rafa had played two wingers rather than Pennant and centre forward Dirk Kuyt on the flanks – perhaps his team may have had more width about them? One team can play narrow but if the opposition ask no questions from the channels then whose fault is that? It takes two to play narrow and that's what happened.

It wasn't like Liverpool were playing in an flowing Arsenal-esque fashion either, their tactics seemed to be shoot from 30+ yards out, give it to Pennant to lose to (the outstanding) Lescott or lump it long to Crouch where it will be eaten up by Yobo and Stubbs. Hardly the 'total football' one would expect from hearing Benitez's post match comments.

As for the small club comment - I think he will regret that for the rest of his time in the city. Need I point out that Everton had won their first title before Liverpool's inception and that the reds still play in Everton's old ground today. This is without mentioning the huge chasm between the two clubs spending budgets over the last decade.

It wasn't the best of matches but far from being a formality win for the home side (who are 29 unbeaten at home having won 24 of those), Everton had the two best chances of the match in Hibbert's early shot and a glorious second half chance for Andy Johnson. Liverpool were frankly lacklustre and never likely to get past a resilient backline had wee played a further 90 minutes.

Anyway, I trust that Benitez is going to have Liverpool go on an all out offensive in Barcelona then? Or will he revert to the desperately dour tactics that he regularly employs on Liverpool's European travels?

3-0 on aggregate to the small timers.

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