More drunk Germans!!

I do love the way no one admits anything now as long as they can find a technicality to feign innocence even when found guilty on all charges. Even MI5 is at it now.

This one below, from is worth reading until the end.

Former Liverpool footballer Dietmar Hamann was so drunk behind the wheel of his car that he could not control the vehicle, a court heard today.

Hamann, 36, was stopped by police at junction six of the M56 near his home in Styal, Cheshire, at 12.15am on July 12 last year.

The ex-Germany midfielder, represented by celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman’s law firm, was charged with drink driving after positive breath and urine samples.

He braked so sharply at a red light that his Range Rover ‘lunged forward’, Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard. He appeared to be driving at excess speed and clipped the kerb three times, PC Michael Connolly told the court.

He said: ‘The defendant was weaving within the lane. When I stopped him I could smell alcohol on his breath. His eyes were glazed and he was unsteady on his feet. He was obstructive and quite abusive.’

When PC Connolly asked Hamann whether he was carrying any sharp instruments, the star joked that he had a knife, the court heard. ‘Yes, a knife, which is now in my car,’ said the footballer, who was released by Manchester City at the end of last season.

The breathalyser reading was 62mg per 100ml of breath, while the legal limit is 35mg, so he was arrested and taken to Altrincham police station.

When he arrived he was slurring his speech, PC David Trigg told the court. He said he was desperate to go to the toilet but PC Trigg told him not to as he might not have enough urine left to provide a sample.

The officer discarded the first sample while the second was sent for analysis, as according to the rules, the court heard. But Hamann was not allowed to empty his bladder in between the samples, his lawyer Jon Oultram told the court.

This meant the two samples were effectively the same, which is against the rules, said Mr Oultram, from Freeman and Co, the law firm famous for finding unusual technical defences.

The urine sample came back positive, with a reading of 187mg per 100ml of urine, while the legal limit is 107mg. But Hamann had not been to the toilet for more than five hours so it was effectively ‘old urine’, Mr Oultram said.

Hamann, wearing a navy suit and brown leather shoes, told the court that he had drunk half a bottle of wine several hours before driving.

He said: ‘I do not think it is possible to hit big kerbs without causing damage to my car. My car is a big car and there is not too much space in those lanes to weave about. ‘I just drove as I normally do. I did not slur and I was not unsteady on my feet.’

The footballer said he found it difficult to hold his bladder at the police station. ‘Everyone knows how hard it is to stop when you need a wee,’ he said.

PS: Hamann was found guilty and banned from driving for 16 months – his second driving conviction, having got a six month ban in 2007 after parking his Porsche. In a fence.

Bellamy may be a prize cock but this is perfect. And the look on his face as he shook hands with Terry was classic. A typical scally footballer.

Asked whether the John Terry saga had given the Welshman and his team-mates extra incentive to beat Chelsea, Bellamy told Sky Sports: “I know what JT is like, so nothing surprises me about him – I know I won’t count on that guy, and I think everyone in football knows what the guy’s like.

“That’s off the field, but on it he’s an outstanding player. A great captain for Chelsea, it’s always difficult against him and his team – today is a big, big result for us.”

>Raise One to the Big Man Here

The head of Germany’s Protestant church has admitted drink-driving, after she was charged with passing a red light while three times over the legal limit.

Bishop Margot Kaessmann, appointed the church’s first female leader last year, was arrested in Hanover at the weekend.

She told Germany’s Bild newspaper: “I am shocked at myself that I could have made such a grave error.”

I’m sorry….but who died here?

So Tiger Woods apologises for having sex with numerous women, letting people down especially his wife and kids and generally giving into temptation and having a good time. He lost numerous sponsors including Tag Heuer whose customers, almost exclusively men, seriously don’t approve of being ability to having sex with numerous women while earning millions of dollars and being married to a model. It’s nothing they would ever do. 🙂

The golf world, full of travelling sportsmen like salesmen has loved the exposure.  You have to question Tiger’s mental balance. I was more shocked at how average the women were. I mean he is Tiger Woods. Granted he isn’t George Clooney (who is just dreamy!) but I mean, surely his cash or cache should go further. Hopefully the therapy will help.

While I may sound snide, more of my concern is why Tiger needs to apology to the world in a public admission of his life ‘failings’. I found it laughable. Hand on heart. Looking direct at the camera. Scripted like a school play. He confessed like an eleven year old being humiliated in front of the class. And he admitted nothing we didn’t know already. ‘I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply.’ They don’t Tiger.

It’s moralism gone mad. He needs some better advisors. Maybe they were worried about his corporate standing. Well he has enough cash and prestige anyway. He is a golfer, not a guru. He should have taken the Ronaldo or Hugh Grant route and just admitted it, apologised and taken it on the chin rather than bending over the glasshouse media. As someone posted on the BBC, the only thing missing what Don King standing behind Tiger and shouting “Only in America!”

Ticketmaster lose but refuse to apologise…awesome ;)

I am not sure why companies like can’t be more fully regulated. They are little above touts at times. The extra commission on top get more and more excessive and with the merging of sales outlets, it will only get become more galling. The total PR denial at the bottom is the usual legal/PR guff that is normal now.

Story from Billboard is below.

Thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans will receive refunds for what the U.S. Federal Trade Commission called deceptive sales practices by TicketsNow, a ticket reselling unit of Ticketmaster, the FTC said on Thursday.

The FTC said Ticketmaster, which is now part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc, will repay fans “upward of a million dollars” in refunds after it used “deceptive bait-and-switch tactics” to sell tickets at 14 Springsteen concerts last year.

The FTC was inundated with complaints last year when people trying to buy Springsteen tickets from Ticketmaster were redirected to TicketsNow, at prices that were as much as three or four times face value.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told reporters on a conference call that the investigation into the practices of the ticket reselling due to the Springsteen complaints had uncovered “pretty shocking” practices.

One such practice was that TicketsNow sold “phantom tickets” without telling the consumers they did not actually have the tickets, but were hoping to get them.

The FTC said TicketsNow was also not fully refunding fans for the premium-priced tickets it could not deliver. In connection with the settlement, the FTC sent letters to all major ticket resellers on Thursday demanding better transparency in dealing with fans.

Live Nation Entertainment issued a statement saying it is now ready to “move forward” after the settlement.

“We are gratified that the FTC found that Ticketmaster did not engage in any inappropriate transfer or diversion of tickets to TicketsNow or any other resale entity,” Live Nation said.

The Mind Meanders

So I made it back to Berlin, a city I spend a decent amount of time in these days. The melting ice is a new addition to the pretentious talk and good coffee. Berlin does cafes very well. I even feel comfortable with the German language these days, understanding while not comprehending. The Streets are on the radio. The candles flicker as the tattooed and pierced staff tidy and serve. Cafes where people can smoke, that serve beer alongside slices of cake. Cafes that are still open at 2am, full of conversation rather than begot by morality or TV screens. Every wall a personalised art space. I have Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From on the table, a beer and a banana. Berliners aren’t afraid to mix it up.

I drank wine last night, a lot you would say but it left me unaffected. Linden went out to a performance of Sir Richard Bishop, a guitarist but I stayed in talking and drinking with Liz, her housemate and generally getting to know her better. It’s useful to meet and talk with your best friends’ friends. To delve and round out the edges. She proved honest, self-depreciating and cuttingly direct on a range of matters not concerning herself.

A good friend called James who I rarely (I don’t want to say never) see showed wisdom beyond his years stating you can tell a lot about people from their friends. He was 19 at the time. We were at university, a foreign forum away from who you are they say but in greater respects, away from who you were. The growing begins when you step away from the cradle and teenage angst-ridden peer groups.

Infrequently my best friends meet. And a sign of their worth is they get on and grow beyond me. A fact I am proud of. Liz, Linden’s flatmate and university friend has her own best friend issue which has painfully crossed the divide from friendship to love without working itself out. Friends in love, separated by circumstances and divided by loyalties can only meander around your brain which loiters on images and memories, massaging tenuous evidence into confirmed wishes of the subconscious. We all have our gripes. Love just happens unplanned and simply won’t always go the way you want it to.

Spoon tonight!

Linden left a few days ago

Linden left a few days ago. It feels like longer. I got up for her early taxi ride to the airport, acutely aware that despite her calmness this was a 1 hour journey through the desert at night alone with a taxi driver. It worried me and her though we tried not to talk about it. I got all the assurances I could, hugged her, waved her off and tried to sleep.

She is a brave girl, doing what she wants (or needs), moving between cultures and finding a home. Over this last few weeks, I have seen a more considerate side that I hadn’t noticed previously. It was always there no doubt but I hadn’t seen it summed up until she fully took care of it all. Her thoughtfulness is genuine when for some it’s convenient.

A girl who gets up on stage and sings when she knows she can or plays the guitar when she knows she can’t. Who gets up in the morning to take the morning sun, the quietness and the absence, filling each day until she removes her contacts, puts on the PJs and gets to bed. All in one seemingly fluid momentum.

I have seen her at her weakest, in a time which challenged her and left her isolated.
Almost overwhelmed. She is too stubborn to admit it but her eyes were wide with pain. I happened to be there then. She came through it with the same quiet willfulness that sometimes makes us argue but never threatens to boil over. I did my best for her but knew it would never be enough.

She works diligently, smokes her rollies, rides her simple bike around the grey streets of Berlin, cooks across cultures, drinks whiskey, plays her guitar without shame, reads Carver and Proust, writes her poetry, replies to emails occasionally, muses with artists, is chased by the same, men who want to take her and care for her. I am impressed. More and more so.

I watched her on stage in Berlin. She glanced over a few times but I rarely met her eye. She told a story about us from Brussels, a funny self-depreciating story which made me smile. I was proud of her up there, perched behind a large guitar, no doubt hungover but determined to do her best. I knew she wouldn’t fail herself. And everyone would be pleased. There was too much admiration in the room for her.

I saw plenty to like in Linden on this trip. With vivaciousness, creativity, sensitivity, open-mindedness, education and depth that need not be tamed, controlled or taken care of, she is some girl. And friend.