Si’s rant: Glastonbury, football and all those cu#ts

Almost no one rants like Si, one of my great mates, a highly intuitive man and a pertinent and intelligent swearer. Don’t be offended. He could be defending you in court one day. So please read, mind your eyes but prepare to laugh as Si goes to town on Bono, Chris Martin and Glastonbury. See below

It’s now almost closer to the start of the new season than it is to the end of the last. How time flies. We’ve managed to get through a month without football, with only Rory McIlroy’s five irons and Roger Federer’s topspin forehand to keep us occupied. It’s been alright. A good clean break. I bet you haven’t even thought about the Barcelona debacle for a good few weeks. Sorry to bring it up again, like, but on the flipside you can look back and recall the glorious march to number nineteen. That seems a long time ago now. In odd years when there is no major tournament it’s difficult to think of anything football related to write about so with the benefit of a bit of distance and thus some perspective, let’s take a look back at 2010/11. It’s either that or I go on about how Glastonbury has turned into the Prince’s Trust benefit concert full of teenage birds screaming every time Beyonce says something about “forgetting your troubles and getting lost in the music”, and nobody wants that. Seriously though, surely it’s only a matter of time before JLS are headlining and it makes you pine for the days when shite like The Levellers were playing to a bunch of gypos with dreadlocks and dogs on a rope drinking meths. As Nicky Wire once told 15,000 smug cunts with Greenpeace t-shirts on and a petrol guzzling 4 x 4 parked in the healing fields, “they should build a bypass over this shithole”. And he’s a cunt too.

So instead of a diatribe, let’s dish out awards for the best and worst of 2010/11 in the old soccer.

Goal of the season – Bono is the king of all cunts. It’s hardly the most original opinion of all time but it’s true none the less. One thing I admire about him though is his total blinkeredness. Despite pretty much everyone in the world calling him a cunt on a daily basis, he just ploughs on through, thinking the world loves him and hangs on his every utterance, each one more inane and meaningless than the last. Look what happened to Robbie Williams. He had a similar level of arrogance and self satisfaction but when he was continually beaten down by the media and the public at large and he saw how much he was hated he very nearly topped himself. It would have been great if he had, don’t get me wrong. I’d like to see the man dead. Or would I? Do I care enough about Robbie Williams to actually see him dead or am I just being flippant? Hang on I’m going to have to stop and think about that for a second… Yes, I’ve decided that I’d like to see Robbie Williams’ life ended. Anyway, Bono. Even his own band mates hate him. Larry Mullen clearly can’t stand the cunt but he knows he’s on a pig’s back and makes millions off the back of his self-promotion. The Edge, despite being called ‘The Edge’, I reckon is probably about as well-adjusted as it’s possible to be for a man in his position called ‘The Edge’. The other fella looks like a bit of a ballbag and got his bar out on an album cover once, that’s about as much as I know of him. But Bono… maybe he’s not actually suffering from cuntitude and is just a genuine loon. To go on the way he goes on you have to be one or the other. It’s one of life’s great imponderables: Bono – cunt or loon? Rooney’s overhead was obviously the goal of the season.

Player of the season – Vidic. Chris Martin though… Now there’s a cunt. No mental illnesses going on there, just pure, unadulterated twatishness. If ever a human could be a big, wet, hairy fanny then it’s this fucking prick. He is Glastonbury now. He is what the festival is, and that’s a cunt. Glastonbury was once represented by relatively left field acts like Billy Bragg and Julian Cope – who are both shite by the way – but now it’s full on sack-cloth wearing bell ends like Chris Martin. He has two first names for starters. Never trust a man with two first names. It means their forefathers didn’t have a trade like ‘Cooper’ or ‘Taylor’ or ‘Schweinsteiger’ and were probably thieves. Butter wouldn’t melt in this cunt’s mouth. I know someone like that. He’s fucking brilliant at everything and is a smart cunt and he’s never said a bad word about anyone and no one’s ever said a bad word about him. He’s so nice that it just can’t be real. He must be covering something up. He must wank off dogs or something. Chris Martin definitely wanks off dogs. Never mind blimps with protest slogans about U2 not paying tax, the next time Coldplay are on at Glastonbury, which will be every fucking year for the next fifty, I’m getting a massive inflatable cock and balls with ‘Chris Martin wanks off dogs’ on it and floating it in front of the stage so it’s on national TV and the tip of the bell end is going to poke Chris Martin in the grid as he’d trying to sing. A massive, 20 foot penis in his face for the duration of the concert. Let’s see if he’d got “the best job in the world” then, the smug cunt. Never have a band become more representative of a demographic than Coldplay and the Pyramid Stage set – the sort of people who buy their CDs in Tescos and call it ‘Glasto’. Wankers.

Match of the season – Chelsea or something. But fuck that, maybe I’m not being fair. There were 175,000 people at Glastonbury and probably only about a fifth at the most could fit in the space around the main stage. I’m judging the whole festival on that. Most festivals are populated by dickheads these days and at least that one isn’t an advert for a minging beer or a telecommunications company. Glastonbury has become a television event – or the Pyramid Stage has, and the headliners reflect that. They are selected for people with mortgages who hate their wife and for whom 6 bottles of Corona and big bag of Walkers Sensations is about as rock and roll as their life gets these days. They’re 37 years old and this is the sort of shite they want to see. There’s probably all sorts of brilliant music and interesting shit going on all over Glastonbury but it’s not for the telly. The telly stuff is for the boring cunts, and they get bands on that reflect that. Elbow (these days), Coldplay, Paul Simon, Primal Scream, U fucking 2… all middle of the road pish’. Of all the people they showed on the telly not one of them was in any way off their nut. Not even drunk. In fact I can’t ever remember seeing anyone in the crowd with a drink in their hand. At a fucking festival, like? That’s not any festival I’ve been to. Wayne wouldn’t have been at that carry on, of course. He was obviously off his meatball on Buckfast and MDMA in the dance tent or lying talking shite to a bin that he thought was Carol Vorderman… with a Stereophonics tattoo on his arm.

Atmosphere of the season – Singing at a football match? Are you fucking serious? Grow up.
Gripe of the season – I don’t gripe. Life’s too short for negativity and I find it does your inner chakra no good to harbour unconstructive thoughts. If you don’t like it, change it or shut it. Moaning gets you nowhere.

Signing of the season – Ok, so it’s Javier Hernandez, but here’s a thought on your new favourite player. El Chicharito – the name every kid wants on their shirt. I’m not sure. That’s all I’m saying – just beware. He’s a god-botherer. Never trust a god-botherer. They don’t play by our rules. Is this the sort of player we want our kids idolising? I wouldn’t – not if I had any kids anyway. Not that I would have kids. I hate them. They’re evil fuckers who have an acute sense of your uncomfortableness around them and play you on it for their own gain. Crafty bastards. I hate them. Apart from yours. Yours are dead cute – do you have any photos of them on your phone that you could show me and tell me the story behind each one for the next five hours? I’d love that. But if I did have kids I’d have them with Vidic or someone on their shirts. God botherers think they’re on a higher plane to everyone else, whereas really they’re just weak-minded, stupid doormats who might as well believe in fucking fairies or something. Not only are they weak and ill-adjusted to the modern world, they actually have a sense of self-sanctimony and superiority that turns all that on its head in their own mind. Think Bono or Chris Martin. Go-botherers actually pity you though. To a man they’re devoid of personality. Think Kaka or most Americans. Michael Owen would probably be the best god-botherer in the world if he’d only bother about god. These people have ceded it all to some bullshit whilst a cunt with a cigar between his blackened teeth in a golden palace in Rome counts his cash with one hand and fingers a six year old boy’s balloon knot with the other. No place for that shite at United. Hernandez’ll also fuck off to Spain at the first available opportunity citing it as his ‘dream’. And he’s not that good – certainly not worth the hype he’s getting. Don’t trust the little bollicks, take it from me (but don’t hold me to it). It wouldn’t surprise me if he was undercover filth, in fact. He looks a bit like that rookie that was on The Bill years ago. Ravel’s yer man. Hernandez would be down the front for Coldplay waving at the camera and drinking mineral water whereas Ravel would be knocking out fake Benzo Fury to Jemima whilst his mates robbed their tents. That’s the sort of cunt we want at United.

Quick season review 2010-2011

Arsenal

Ahh the usual season for Arsenal. Started promisingly. Beautiful, fluid football but yet the usual fragilities. They continue to lack solidity at the back, have yet to find a keeper, lack a real authority in the centre of the park and continue to rely on players who are simply not good enough. I’m thinking about most of their central defenders, Eboue and Bendtner. The arrival of Wilshire means Fabregas could leave for (£30m or so) but that money would have to re-invested and signings like Gervinho simply arent good enough. B-

Aston Villa

A real nothing season for Villa that will lead to numerous of their better players leaving. Morale must be very low there especially as Houiller has left, followed by Young and Freidel. The loss of Downing won’t be so great. His value is a puzzle to me. Signing Bent is a very good move and they have the basis of a solid middle table team with decent youngsters coming through but they will need some galvanising and a decent start. B –

Birmingham City

Forget winning the League Cup, getting relegated especially when in a solid table at the turn of the year is a disaster. McLeish was a good manager for them but continuing ability to get Birmingham relegated leaves huge question marks. The lack of creative nous (Gardner was their leading goalscorer) hardly bodes well for the Championship next season. With the arrest of Yeung in Hong Kong (a sign that the Premier League will still sell to anyone), a quick promotion back to the EPL would be miraculous. C+

Blackburn Rovers

A poor team under an unnecessary manager and curious owners. By February I was fairly sure Rovers would get relegated. They survived but with little conviction. Without a change of management and some new players, Blackburn are drifting to inevitable relegation. C

Blackpool

Relegated but with their heads held high. Having watched Blackpool scrap by Cardiff in the Championship playoff final, I really thought Blackpool would struggle badly. They continued to be entertaining but too open. Playing Manchester United on the last day of the season is unlucky but hopefully they can come back up soon. In a better league, they would have really struggled. B-

Bolton Wanderers

Despite the disastrous FA Cup semi-final loss to Stoke, Bolton has a pretty good season. They drifted badly towards the end finishing 13th after being solid top ten for most of the season. Coyle is a good manager and added some flair to the team but they will need some investment especially if they lose Cahill over the summer. B-

Chelsea

Difficult to assess this season. Chelsea are ageing but Ancelotti was badly undermined by the board. That team was still good enough to win the league and almost did. However a lack of pace and failing belief in system in place especially after the unnecessary signing of Torres condemned the season and Ancelotti. I feel sorry for the guy. A decent man which is apparently not good enough any more. B

Everton

Moyes does it again. Bringing in unheralded players and moulding them into a winning, or at least, very difficult to beat team. Everton only lost 10 times all season but ended the season with only a 6+ goal difference. There is no point calling for more investment. It just can’t happen under the board. How long Moyes can continue this brilliant job or wants to, I don’t know but if Moyes does leave, Everton are in trouble. B

Fulham

Another solid, professional, over-achieving season from Fulham, this time under Mark Hughes. I can’t say too much because there isn’t much to say. Hard-working, organised and with some talent upfront. And very good at set-pieces. Its all likely to continue under Martin Jol, a manager I rate. B+

Liverpool

A poor start condemned Hodgson but its difficult to see how badly he did. Without a functioning Torres, an injured Carragher and a barely fit Gerrard, the team Rafa left was exposed. Lucas did come of age but there are still huge gaps in quality there. However Dalglish has bought well (even if he has overpaid) and the youth team re-organised by Rafa is finally coming through. B

Manchester City

Winning the FA Cup and finishing 3rd hardly seems enough for such an expensively created team. Despite still looking like a Championship Manager team, for me they should have done better and Mancini wont have too many excuses next summer. He has quality from back to front but he needs to get Johnson off the bench and Tevez to stay. Without him, they are light upfront. B

Manchester United

Fergie wins the league again. I say Fergie because only he could have pulled that off. The league was mixed this year but he has key men in key positions (Van de Saar, Vidic, Rooney and Giggs). The rest of the team is replaceable at the highest level except maybe Hernandez and Evra and the demolition from Barcelona proves it. A-

Newcastle United

The usual messy season but it had its promising moments. Hughton would have gone at some point and Ashley may have acted wisely. A lot of Hughton’s signing have come through though especially Williamson and Tiote. For £35m Carroll had to go. A season without Nolan seems an odd decision but the replacement so far look ok even if they have a West Ham look about them. B

Stoke City

A very good season from Stoke. The same as ever but with the FA Cup Final to boot. Difficult to beat and well managed. B+

Sunderland

Almost a brilliant season from my point of view as Sunderland plunged towards relegation. The loss of Bent hit them hard along with injuries but they should have had the nous to get through. Bruce is a decent manager and 10th place would have kept everyone satisfied. B-

Tottenham Hotspurs

A good season from Harry, saving it by beating Liverpool at Anfield to secure a Europa spot. That was impressive. Harry’s team have improved and now challenge the big boys. Too many draws, also known as needing a goalscorer hampered their progress. B+

West Brom

A good season from West Brom who made a brave and I thought cruel decision to remove Di Matteo and replace him with Hodgson. From that moment on, their season solidified and improved. Finishing 11th is more than they could have wished for. B+

West Ham United

Relegated and without surprise. I feel for Grant a bit but they lacked class upfront and the defence is overrated and/or ageing. Noble and Parker could be leaving but the rest isn’t worth picking up. However with Alladyce they could get back up. D+

Wigan Athletic

I can’t believe they survived. I like Martinez but his team is poor and played poorly. I know its Wigan but I expected more. Next season will be much the same. C+

Wolves

Somehow stayed up with their terrible run-in. Again a fairly poor team but I like McCarthy. He’s honest and organised. Staying up is good for the league but without investment, they will inevitably struggle B-

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

(The title is from a Raymond Carver short story)

I had a curious experience recently. While in London in December, I met up with an ex-girlfriend for some lunch. We were previously together for a few years and you could say she was one of the loves of my life. Now we hadn’t seen each other for many years but the power of facebook and mutual friends put us back in contact again 3 years ago. We’d fb chatted occasionally, sent private messages on matters of mutual interest and liked each other’s statuses. Like friends do. But actually meeting up again, even just for lunch still felt fairly monumental.

After a quick hug at the tube station, we wandered to a restaurant chatting but barely making eye contact. Sitting opposite each other we couldn’t avoid looking at the faces we knew so well. Initially discussing the menu provided easy respite from the awkwardness, allowing evasive small talk. By the time the food arrived, we were more at ease, gently investigating each other’s lives, (she is now a TV producer), laughing about people we used to know and smiling at the silly moments we’d had.

The Czech novelist Milan Kundera wrote a book called Ignorance, a story concerning a long-lost affair and how the two protagonists met and recall the affair differently years later. What struck me over lunch was how we too had slanted memories, reminding each other of different events or with alternative memories of the same events. That’s kinda natural of course but it could be indicative of what was important to us, moments that stuck. On the train back home, she sent me a text. ‘It was weird wasn’t it! But lovely.’ I agreed. It was. 

It started me thinking about how our relationships shape us. The band The National ask ‘how can anybody know how they got to be this way.’ Well we earnestly nod about the nurturing power of childhood, family, school or travel but we’re told we’re meant forget past relationships and banish anything that triggers a memory. The past is best left there. Yet these relationships led me to the World Cup in Japan or amazing parties on Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, music festivals in Paris or times where I’ve met some great friends. They’ve moved me to better places. 

Of course a bad break-up can cloud everything for a while. A friend once told me she couldn’t remember the good times she had with her boyfriend after a 5 year relationship. That’s a shame. Sometimes we go on too long. We think we’d be alone rather than seeing it as an opportunity. My friend M mentions she still thinks of her ex over a year later. That highlights the encompassing pull of love. The world may be fickle but love isn’t.

We often ask what was I doing or how did I stay there so long, regarding them as tangents or aberrations. A friend of mine LP once put his friend right about his life. After years being away from Australia he was back and was told by a friend that he was a few years behind them in terms of life, lacking the mortgage and ring. But rather LP explained he was at the same point but simply on a different ladder. These relationships weren’t a detour from the right ladder but in fact a physical and emotional shift to a new ‘you.’

The truth is we never forget and in most cases nor should we completely. Love can be equally uplifting and debilitating, rivalling only jealousy in terms of emotive power. Controlling it seems impossible at times. There is no rational reason to love. You either love or you don’t. Dimension and consideration play no part. But to love and be loved is truly glorious and utterly unforgettable. I’ve always been a near-hopeless romantic and smile at the person I was in those times. It made me more than I am.

So rather than forget, I sit here with a glass of wine writing this (while my unfinished dissertation looks forlornly on), revelling in glorious rapture of the women and the love that’s shaped me, made me think silly, happy thoughts and put a spring in my step. It would be unnatural to blank it out and undermine its importance. It’s what makes us human. You simply move on hopefully improved.

Its late and I may not sleep soon but I do have to end this somehow. So using the lyrics of Dave Berman, ‘the final words are so hard to devise. But I promise that I’ll always remember your pretty eyes.’


Senna (2010)

 

 

I saw this documentary on Senna’s Formula One career a few weeks ago. Its undoubtedly informative and moving and the use of archive footage is revealing. The sympathy shown to Senna by the film makers is striking and their love for F1 is obvious. For me maybe too clear. While I enjoyed it, unless you are an F1 nerd, there seems to be a gap in the story. Senna was a huge figure in F1 but meant so much more to Brazil at the time.

Brazil had only just emerged from dictatorship and despite being endlessly touted as the ‘next big economy’, it was still struggling with inflation, debt, a laborious economy and corruption. Even the traditional heroes, the Brazilian football team hadn’t won the World Cup for the last 24 years of Senna’s life. But despite being a rich, white boy, Brazilians embraced Senna for showing themselves to the world as winners. They can be very competitive and emotional people in general. Yet this embrace was only highlighted when Senna first won the Championship and at his funeral. A slight more detailed sociological angle could have really brought home what representing Brazil so clearly means to Brazilians and meant to Senna himself.

In the Sun

Great last few days, the kind of chaos that only comes about when you have too much to do. Arcade Fire and Beirut with Alex Carrington, jumping up and down in right at the front like drunken kids building our harem as we went. Sad to miss Mari Hardwick and Ben Kelly but drinks with Magda Pałys and Ania Rewieńska on Friday, lunch with Mary Martha Eyo, boating down the Thames with Gary and Lynne in Richmond, randomly running into Rosie and all topped off with an email from the great man Os who is flying over for a month in a few weeks. Serious catch-up boozing time after 3 years with Os.

I am pleased. Very pleased. Yah! 😀

Super 8

Let’s call it The Goonies in War of the Worlds filmed by Spike Jonze. We’ve also got an ET who only kills bad guys but just wants to get home. It’s aided by scruffy-haired kids with adult musings while untoward premonitions lurks around the town. It’s well-acted, grainly-filmed and involving subtler twists than your average science-fiction suburban drama. While the teenager angst and stress manifest, the ominous military work to contain the town and its newcomer. Its well worth watching.

News of the World is really in the mire now

Previously I wrote a post entitled In a World of Trouble about the phone-tap investigation implying very little might change. That was before today where we’ve learnt from The Guardian that the News of the World hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, the 13 year old girl murdered in 2002. They not only listened to the messages but also deleted some to cover their tracks. That the messages were deleted indicated to the police at the time Milly could still have been alive, altering the timeline and compromising the investigation. Its not only illegal but fundamentally immoral.

The extent of the phone-tap investigation is now difficult to quantify. It will certainly get more serious and would likely lead to charges of obstructing a murder investigation. Previously only Andy Coulson and his editors were implicated but now the hacking stretches back to at least 2002 and involves the editor at the time Rebekah Brooks, now the chief executive of News International (and incidentally Ross Kemp’s old wife!).

News International is again insisting it is assisting the police in their inquires. Before this, NoW had successfully managed the crisis, giving when it was convenient and paying out of court settlements. Now its a criminal investigation and the stakes are far higher. You can’t buy your way out of it. How its readers will react is the ultimate barometer of disgust. This could just turn the tide. The other papers won’t let this lie easily, And nor should we.