Off to Casablanca

I am in the desert at the mo, in the town they filmed Gladiator. Not much left of that but the beggars. Heading to Casabalnca this weekend. The unbeaten leaders are arriving to play the champions who have been out of form all season. Bound to be a decent game or a riot. Either way, I am taking my camera.

All cool here though the hassle is intense at times.

I will post more from Casablanca when hopefully I can repeat Bogey’s line….

>Lovely day today.
Cant say much as the internet is slow and the keyboard is in Arabic. But in Morocco and cool so far. Plenty has happened and I will get it down asap

Big Bother

Well we all know how fond of nostalgia C4 is so I guess they are merely just taking us back to the era of Alf Garnett. I have never watched the program before but I’m interested now, not to see the British trash show themselves up for what they are but to see the British reaction to it all.

Like all nations, we have our racism and while it tends to be covert, it runs through all levels of society. There will undoubtedly be an overreaction by the media and politicians, keen to sell themselves. But for me what is more fundamental here has been the post-90s celebration of untalented people who simply use the motto “it’s a free world” to abuse everyone in sight while kids would rather be good at a PlayStation than read a book (or even have the ability to read a book). Danielle Lloyd was previously famous for being Teddy Sheringham’s girlfriend and the girl who thought Winston Churchill was black because the bust near her house in London was black.

But at least the nation is recognising the bullying and condemning it. The racist issues is more difficult to define but there are strident elements. Every overreaction eventually corrects itself to a degree but hopefully the kids watching will understand the moral issues here and move the country on somewhat. Whether we can find an answer to the chavs is difficult without drastic human liberties curbs. There is something in that too.

I heard the interview this morning with the Channel 4 chairman and was surprised the interviewer continued to give him the oxygen of publicity as the chairman repeated the same answer “we have released a statement already” maybe 6 times, making no attempt to apologise. Truly pathetic stuff. For such a savvy company to be caught out and then have no answer is surprising. They are obviously worried about their classy cash cow here. I guess TV does make you look bigger than you really are.

Owen Hargreaves column

Hargreaves has his own column on the BBC now. The first week was pure Canadian i.e. unspectacular but pleasant. But he ups his game here, talking about Becks and comes across as well above the average footballer. Though when he the explains his haircut, I’m sure a few United fans won’t be so taken.

I’ve been a fan of Owen since 2002, never fully believing the stick he got having seen him play a crucial role. His energy, positional play and reading of the tackle is exceptional. But as you find out after a short time, a lot of football fans simply are poor judges of players and the game or blinded to it.

Column here

Perfume – The Story of a Murderer

I took the folks to the cinema last night, for a film I knew Dad would find interesting and Mum would find unusual.

When the bus broke down in Southern Bolivia over 3 years ago, I started talking to an Indian dentist while eyeing up the South African girl. He was dressed in a swami and was slightly pretentious but we started talking books. He recommended Parfum by Patrick Suskind. I borrowed it from the library, swallowed it in two days and searched for other books but found nothing. So when they made this film and my mate Matt scored it as the best film he’d ever seen, I booked up the tickets early.

Its the story of Jean-Bapiste, an orphan who develops a love of smells which becomes his obsession and he uses his sensitive nose to evade justice as he kills to make his perfect perfume, the fragrance that will make people love him.

I won’t say anymore except to say, it’s very worth watching.

Free to Be

“Man is born free but lives his life in chains” – Rousseau.

I left work last night on the dot. Nothing unusual about that. I don’t believe in slaving for something I don’t believe in. I said bye, jumped on my bike and rode, beaming like a rainbow. I cycled my way home, at a pace, my head held high, legs pumping, getting weary as the slight breeze couldn’t hold me back. On other days, that breeze, as you ride towards work cuts you down to a mere man but yesterday it could hold me no more. For I am free. All that lies ahead of me is my road. Where it will take me, it has yet to inform me. I may only find out when I arrive. But I’m looking forward to discovering.

It could be my last trip for a while. And I’m as optimistic as I ever have been about it. There is time and there are places. And I am free.

Good Luck Lad

So Becks has moved on and good on him. The vitriolic abuse he gets in this country is tiresome. Do we not remember the goal against Greece that saved us from possibly non-qualification? Do United fans not remember the years of service putting in crosses all strikers thrived off ? He consistently worked hard on the field, a charity worker and an admired face of Britain abroad.

What else could he have done? Why come back to England and have to listen to the fans abuse or be hounded by the press? He wouldn’t be able to keep up with the game and anyway, where else is there to go after Manchester United and Real Madrid? When Figo moved to Saudi Arabia, no one called him a shot-player or a failure. When Zidane retired at 34, no one called him a drop-out.
Like Robbie Williams, he has moved to LA to live and achieve. The mood amongst bloggers, ex-footballers and on phone-ins is a depressing indictment of the cynicism and negativity that accompanies success in this country. I thought it was the newspapers but it become clear that they merely reflect the mood of the people. The Americans while often full of guff, appreciate talent and respect achievement. They will welcome him the way some would reject him here.
Many seem to act as if Becks has let the country down throughout his career. His domestic career is full of success and while his England career wasn’t a great success, no English player has won anything since 1966. And was it his fault that he was picked by successive managers? But the real crux for these fans is that Becks has move on financially and become the face of dozens of products, seemingly leaving the rest of us behind. And that’s the rub. While we want success on some level, on deeper levels we want to be able to jeer and moan especially about the success of others.
Those who have started small and made a success of themselves know the feeling of the workers, sarcastically looking up to the Boss. It’s part of the English disease. One day they may learn to appreciate achievement. But like the weather, it must remain grey for some.
Becks said, the greatest honour in his career was to play with Zindine Zidane. I can understand those sentiments from just watching Zidane. For to play football is to feel football and just to play is enough for me. I can appreciate a good player when I see one, not matter what shirt he wears.

Well, good luck David Beckham. A nice guy, done well. I applaud you.


Funny new rules for 2007 from a master comic.

Funny new rules for 2007 from a maste

I love rules #1, 3, 5, 6 and 10. Enjoy.

George Carlin’s New Rules For 2007

#1: Stop giving me pop-ups to old class reunions. There is a reason you don’t talk to people for 25 years. Because you don’t particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the

football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.

#2: Don’t eat anything that’s served to you out a window unless you’re a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy’s chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout?

#3: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.

#4: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you’re a retard. When you’re a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. When you’re a grown man, they’re pictures of men.

#5: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here’s how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we’re done.

#6: There’s no such thing as flavored water. There’s a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That’s your flavored water.

#7: Stop fucking with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that’s square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

#8: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a “decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n’-Low and one NutraSweet,” Oooh, you’re a huge asshole.

#9: I’m not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, selecting ‘Debit,’ entering my PIN, pressing ‘Enter,’ verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don’t want cash back, and pressing ‘Enter’ again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

#10: Girls, just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn’t make you spiritual. It’s right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to “beef with broccoli.” The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren’t pregnant. You’re not
spiritual. You’re just high.

#11: Competitive eating isn’t a sport. It’s one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What’s next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They’re already doing that. It’s called “The Howard Stern Show.”

#13: I don’t need a bigger mega M&M. If I’m extra hungry for M&Ms, I’ll go nuts and eat two.

#14: If you’re going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what’s playing on the other screens. Let’s remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn’t good enough to be a movie.

#15: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it’s for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn’t gift giving, it’s the white people version of looting.

Harold Pinter

I’m reading the new Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter at the moment. Just his greatest plays, The Birthday Party and the like. I felt I needed to catch up after reading too many Shakespeares in school and then little after.

Like Ibsen who I read last month, plays are often concise revelatory stories into modern life. For Ibsen, it was the hypocrisy of Victorian values, while Pinter focused on effect the little things have on humans reaching breaking point.Pinter also had little time for critics, believing that a man’s art must stand up to himself first his audience second.
Below is the hilarious account he gave of the first night of his heralded play The Caretaker.
“It took me quite a while to grow used to the fact that critical and public response in the theatre follows a very erratic temperature chart. And the danger for a writer is when he becomes easy prey for the old bugs of apprehension and expectation in this connection. But I think Dusseldorf cleared the air for me. In Dusseldorf about two years ago I took, as is the Continental custom, a bow with a German cast of the Caretaker at the end of the play on the first night. I was at once booed violently by what must have been the finest collection of booers in the world. I thought they were using megaphones, but it was pure mouth. The cast was as dogged as the audience, however, and we took thirty-four curtain call, all to boos. By the thirty-fourth there were only two people left in the house, still booing. I was strangely warmed by all this, and now, whenever I sense a tremor of the old apprehension or expectation, I remember Dussledorf and am cured.”

I love the surreal, anarchic nature of the story, the steely determination of both groups of protagonists to win out over the other. It’s also a lesson to anyone who aspires to ignore criticism and try and try again.


The Trial of Tony Blair

Both men are disappointed New Labour supporters. “I had never belonged to a political party in my life but, like most of the nation, I was full of hope when New Labour came to power,” says Aukin. “I didn’t mind a little betrayal of socialist ideals,” says Beaton, “but the war was it.”

The above are the words of the producers of The Trial of Tony Blair, a satirical review of the Blair years. The drama is set in 2010 and features a Blair forlorn over his legacy.
“Cherie – do you think my legacy’s secure?”
“I just want to be sure. It won’t be Iraq they remember me for?”
“No,” replies Cherie unconvincingly, “I’m sure it won’t be.”

Its exactly how I feel about Blair. Sheer disappointment in him and a grand apathy to modern politics. More on the drama here.