And So Its Christmas

Happy Christmas Everybody ūüôā (its technically the 24th when I’m writing this)

Its been an amazing fast year from Nottingham through Andalucia and Oxford and Devon ending the year at Pedro’s gaff in Barcelona for New Year.

I’ll get a year review up asap. Next year is falling into place. My academic breeze has opened doors, South America is as near as booked and then I’ll be back at university in September. Not sure yet but its looking more and more like Nottingham again with London a decent second.

Anyway if I met you this year or caught up with you, thank you or if unfortunately we haven’t seen each other this year, we’ll sort it for next year, that’s a promise.

Take care

Love

Dan

xx

Khan Fails Under Pressure

Two title fights and two losses for English fighters, Carl Froch and Amir Khan. The shock reverberated around SkySports but if you know the game, you’d have known these losses were understandable for differing reasons. So much so, I bet on both¬†winners.

Froch’s loss was the most predictable. While a tough and reasonably skilled fighter, he reached his level with Kessler, a fight he lost, just. But Andre Ward his opponent last weekend is a clear league above anyone in the division including Bute, the ‘other guy,’ not in the Super Six Super Middleweight Tournament. Bute has skills and will challenge Ward but Ward can do it all.

Tough, fit, skilful at range and happy to mix it. A winner at the 2004 Olympics, at 27 years he’s going to dominate the division for the next few years. He’s not an all-time great and probably won’t be. The division is too weak but he has the skills to be champion for a few years to come.

Khan’s loss was less predictable but always was eminently possible. Peterson is very good, tough and determined. He showed the kind of heart that befits his background of homelessness. Khan right now, after losing a decision is¬†showing the spoilt child side. He got drawn into his fight, displayed arrogance but lacked nous. Fighting in his opponent’s hometown was brave, some say stupid. The decision was close but Khan simply took too may shots to be a clear winner.

Khan is coming across worse and worse. He fought well but inappropriately and then spoke completely out of place. He should have saved that talk for after the ring. He’s acting like a spoilt child and no doubt he pulls out the racism card in this country. But soon enough the Americans will get tired of that attitude too. He wont be able to fall back on the same excusing making there. They’ll see through that.

His level was exposed. He’s just about the best in the division despite this defeat. I’m sure he will win the rematch but stepping up to challenge Floyd Mayweather, the best fighter of the century , maybe greater than Roy Jones Junior and therefore the greatest since Sugar Ray Leonard in the early 1980s is far beyond Khan and even his ego.

Clarkson and that other cu#t Cameron

Jeremy Clarkson may be a tool (and hate his manner and TV shows) but can I complain about the complaints for a second? I mean come on, sure he was merely being reflective of a horrible, twatish, nerdy Loaded magazine demographic, the kind of moron who laugh at shit jokes and make crass comments about a waitress when she leaves their table but ultimately I don’t think he was literally advocating shooting people. The guy is a moron, no better than the average tram racist, just better educated and more careful about his words.

However he has apologised, should be kicked off TV for a while and the complainers should get something else to do. Sadly it will likely help Clarkson. It further his ‘no style rebel image’ amongst his boring demographic who incidentally worship him for his directness but never had his advantages in life. Its coming up to Xmas too. I’m sure it’ll all help the book/DVD sales concerning being an obnoxious twat and driving another car down another road.

Of course the real issue here is that Clarkson is reflecting but hiding his class bias. Clarkson’s criticisms of the strikers and his snub-nosed response to the question ‘any of your friends involved in the strikes?’ indicate a lot. He has nothing to lose or question from the present system and therefore every one else must be a loser in this zero-sum game. Don’t kid me that neo-liberal capitalism has trickle-down for it clearly doesn’t. But even simpler than that, not questioning a system makes the man as banal as could be.

David Cameron answered some questions from celebrities (I know!) recently in The Guardian. The first question was from David Mitchell who asked ‘do you sometimes wish you weren’t as posh?’ This is a great question for it immediately forces Cameron to pretend he is not the son of a line of stockbrokers and connected to the Queen (5th cousin). His answer was an example of Dave’s every man personality. Dave (we’re all friends) talked of his humble origins and the sacrifices his parents made to get him to Eton, Oxford and a place in Conservative Central Office alongside his best mate George Osborne (interestingly born Gideon Oliver to the 17th Baronet).

I remember the word sacrifice having genuine resonance once rather than a trade-off between an iPhone 4S or waiting for the iPhone5. Maybe like jumping on a grenade to save your fellow soldiers. Or selling your car to fund your children’s university. Or working 2 jobs including in a cafe to fund your kids. That’s a sacrifice to me but like the bastardisation (or relativism) of all words in the name of free speech in this consumerist age, the consumer is right especially if you have the power to ignore the consequences.

The Differences between Suarez and Terry

I’ll keep this brief. Luis Suarez of LFC was banned for 8 games for repeatedly calling Patrice Evra a negro during a game. He admitted saying it but pleaded innocent essentially calling for cultural relativism. His argument is that in Uruguay and South America in general, calling someone black or a negro is not offensive but simply a term of description. Evra’s argument was its offensive and racist to refer to a person’s colour solely with the intent of categorizing and disparaging him. Otherwise known as racism.

It’s a subtle argument by Suarez but fails to dismiss the racist element. After all, the history of race relations in South America involves forced export and slavery in the fields. White South Americans, the racist kind, are well-known for still calling Brazilians ‘monkeys.’ That’s essentially what Suarez was doing. Referring to someone in a lower sense simply based on their race or colour. His argument was it was in jest or simple baiting a footballer during the game. Blatter would have called for a handshake but we wouldn’t accept that for in any other circumstance.

Terry has been charged with calling Anton Ferdinand ‘a black motherfucker.’ The difference here and Terry’s saving grace ironically is the word motherfucker. It’s similar to calling someone a fat bastard or black cunt (excuse my language). The personal insult is in fact the second term. The descriptive word is an embellisher. The insult for Terry is the word motherfucker, a word I know from Arabic is considered an ultimate insult even if its over-use means its lost much of its vehemence in Western culture. Terry is likely to be found guilty but given a fine or suspended sentence or be found innocent on a lack of convincing evidence.

That’s not to argue there aren’t significant similarities between the men. Terry is in no way a better man. His record as a philanderer, racist, self-righteous thug and general arsehole (see; pissing on the floor of a strip bar because he can) is on a par with Suarez, the man banned for seven games at Ajax for biting another player or red carded for cheating during the World Cup and diving constantly throughout games here in the EPL, bizarrely known as gamesmanship.

Zimbardo the psychiatrist would talk of the structure within which these players grow up and live to explain their behaviour. That’s undoubtedly true and so while it might be too late to mend their childhoods, the structure, rules and norms of football and modern society need to enforce ideas beyond pure freedom of speech, and value collective responsibility alongside rights to be a c#nt

Films Consumed

Films seen recently…

Tintin – it just sorta happens and then you move on. Slick and mildly uninteresting 3/5

Mission Impossible 4 – big budget, flashy and sometimes ridiculous, MI4’s gadgetry takes away from the modest story involving saving the world. It’ll never compete with the Bourne films but its entertaining. 4/5

The Treasure of Sierra Madre – Bogart in the Mexican desert searching for gold with his compatriots but the real story is about greed as Bogie becomes suspicious of everyone and everything in his quest to secure his wealth. Great, tough film. 5/5

Piranaha 3D – Ridiculous, cheap, silly, fun, gory. well worth it. 4/5

Hugo – Its endearing but strangely seems to take a long time to get nowhere in particular. You can’t help thinking if this was French-made it would be far funnier and cuter and with a more satisfying ending. French films always play out ‘in the now’ while US films tend to be about finding who you are by looking into the past for some reassurance. The French define themselves in this life. Americans in the past. Think Buddhism. 3/5

Tower Heist – I’m not sure this was meant to be funny. It succeeded. 1/5

Outrage – Takeshi Kitano shoots his way through the entire cast by the end but the beginnings of the film well-highlight the mundaneness of business even for the Yakuza. 3/5

Silent Running – a slightly odd 70s environmental film set in space with Bruce Dern killing off the crew in a bid to save his cultivated greenhouse. Some nice model work. 3/5

The Great Dictator – I’ll end on the best film I’ve seen for a while. Charlie Chaplin’s talkie satirising¬†fascism, totalitarianism and Hitler long before anyone else saw the dangers. Its very funny but also deeply clever and sad and at times beautifully rendered especially the scenes involving the globe and the final speech. 5/5

The Ghost Writer

I’m gonna tell you a story about a story that’s never existed, written by a man I know who writes stories. Or that how the story’s been told. This man, someone I met through others has a publishing deal to write a children’s story to hit the book shelves next year. Its taken well over a year to get to this point but the book is written. Its now just a matter of of printing, packaging and publishing. Or that’s how the story goes.

So what does all this mean? What am I saying? Why am I questioning my own words? Am I trying to mislead you?

Well this is where I have to step back, hold up my hands and say I don’t know. For I truly don’t know. This upcoming publication by a friend of a friend has been taken as read by us all for a long time. We were all proud and looking forward to introducing our friend the author.

Our friend the author has been house-hunting with his girlfriend with the ¬£60,000 advance. They’re both excited. Who wouldn’t be? have looked round numerous well-attired flats and houses, all with an extra room for guests and a nice flat-screen for the wall. We’re also awaiting the promised, lavish dinner when the publication is finally confirmed.

So why am I reading this you might ask?

The issue at hand is there is no book. There will be no dinner and¬†consequentially¬†there can be no house for a lack of advanced finance. Its only come to light recently and no one knows how to play it yet. I’m not tempted to say anything for he’s a friend’s friend. Its not my place.

My friend has simply dropped the book story, stopped asking questions to allow the story to be forgotten like drunken gossip. No one wants an open confrontation. The book has taken on a surreal life of it own. Its very absence, its non-existence has given it life. We’ve weaved it into our lives. We’re writing the idea of the book into our story.¬†We’ll remember it as we age over whiskey and mull over times past. We’ll sip and smile.

But I couldn’t possible write that story. It may not occur. We’ll have to see where the narrative takes us.

Martin O’Neill – the Nearly Man

I’m starting to believe he is the real nearly man of football management. His timing has always been slightly off. Fergie said something interesting today. ‘He’ll do a good job, if thats the job he’s going for.’ I think he meant O’Neill really should be on a grander level. Yet, of the big clubs, only Chelsea and Liverpool have been higher and firing. O’Neill has been linked to both these clubs (he was also ¬†interviewed for the Newcastle job but was bizarrely turned down by Freddie Shepherd).

O’Neill is 59, This could be his last big job. He’s started out well but Sunderland are a poor squad. Its really a shame he might never get a shot a a top job. With his track record, ¬†he really should have been at a big club by now.