Thursday, 21 November 2013

I Said One Two Three Shake Your Body Down

The Derby Innit

Some may say the fact that I was only alerted to the fact that yesterday that the match is on Saturday, not Sunday, and that I only realised this morning that my 'plan' for watching it wont actually be possible as my mum hasn't got the channel its on bodes ill for a preview.....

Of course its on BT Sport isn't it this time? Here we are, nearly in December and it seems only yesterday Michael Owen was whipping us into a pre-season fever of anticipation on their talk-of-the-town advertising thunderclap......"Cant wait...played in a few of those over the years" he said, and so he did:

"Can't wait..." and even as he said it, you knew he really could. I know the impression has been allowed to creep into this site's football coverage at times that its not the be-all-and-end-all(!), but seriously has there ever been a more lifeless, limp, lacking in insight excuse for a pundit? Not one person signed up for the channel on hearing that "wor Mickey" was on board did they, so why pay him to phone in half-hearted blandishments when he'd rather be somewhere else? The first game of the season, Liverpool - Stoke, was a match where he probably was one of the best placed people to provide an at least different angel, but he offered nothing but platitudes - he's not even a horrible person, he just isn't arsed but seems to think he is obliged to stay in football. Neither him nor BT will be particularly bothered though, given they're now buying up the rights to a panoply of soccertainment.

So, this will be their first chance of probably many to do a simultaneously hugely overwrought yet totally underwhelming 'ONE CITY. TWO TRIBES. ONLY...ONE...WINNER!' intro segment. Will they have their own end-of-season compilation splicing all the worst bits of these together and use them to buttress out any footage of the actual games and lure you into watching it none the less on the 27th December? If they do then they really have joined the Premiership party.

Despite all the above ennui and whining, and as touched on in other places ( the slightly less intense build up to these games of late, we're not at the stage where turning up a day late is an option. Not least because this is by most standards a stand-alone intriguing game - 2nd vs 5th and two young, confident, strong-minded managers in charge. Both Rogers and Martinez (over a shorter period) have shown a genuine willingness to follow, not just talk about, a long-term plan.

To me, Liverpool getting shut of Carroll last season when they had no-one else really to play upfront with Suarez was one of the best moves by a manager in the last few seasons - it would have been far easier to keep him there, lash him on if it was 0-1 and maybe get a few more short-term points. But what Rogers did was actually pretty clever, instead preferring to keep going with his style, safe under the cover of a narrative that said he'd been screwed over in the window meant he wouldn't take too much flak in the short-term. Then in January the chance came up to sign a much better forward in Sturridge, and because the team hadn't been half of the time playing in a different style, they were ready to slot someone like that in and it didn't take long for the better player to settle in and the whole situation to make sense.

I think Martinez has done similarly after quickly assessing that the combination of getting both Barkley & McCarthy in the team at the expense of Fellaini will be best in the long-run, even if we might have dropped a bit in the here-and-now (you could easily have seen Fellaini nicking a goal in the Palace game if we'd pushed him up in the last ten). Weirdly, the fact that we've started better than I think most expected has presented a dilemma I think, in that if we'd thrown in a few more goals and dropped a few more points, the likes of Stones, Deulefou and Robles might have had more time in lower-expectations environment.

In fact even Osman has ended up starting two games at Barkley's expense recently, something that shouldn't really continue for long (especially as it hasn't worked).

Classic Encounter

Not really scraped that grimey ol' barrel of 'Greatest Wins Over Liverpool' too fervently with the People's Club branded brillo pad to come up with this one, but it was a classic as it happened, so would be perverse to implicitly downgrade it now, nearly 20 years on. This match is a sepia-tinged encapsulation of 90s football, the antithesis of the the slight detachment I feel now - I felt like I would cry if Neil Ruddock had equalised late in this highly-charged November encounter.

Everton were bottom, had won something like three games in their last thirty and were engaged in a bizaree attempt to make themelves even worse: imagine coming 17th, but with a striker who scored 21 in the season, and thinking 'I know, lets get rid of him', then 'lets swap him, at a loss, for a left back!', then 'but it needs to be a left-back who everyone already hates, is shit, and would be 3rd or 4th choice in that position if he came...'. That was the Walker doctrine.

So, a lot of creit to Peter Johnson who acted correctly, thought this slow suicide had to stop and pulled the plug on the Norwich Nostradumus and brought in Joe Royle in time for this Monday night main event.

Benefit-fraud trendsetter Tommy Smith predicted in the Echo "at least 3-0 to Liverpool" which on form was fair - under Roy Evans they had a similar team to now in some ways: attractive to watch, strikers who you didn't want to give a chance too, and a neat but occasionally lightweight midfield, and crucially, you never quite thought they were going to win anything (although if Liverpool were to beat us on Saturday, they'd look good for a real tilt at something this year).

We set up with a completely re-vamped side ('no Samways or Burrows?! Well this isnt going to work....') and the first half went by without much happening, except Matt Jackson picking up an injury that meant he had to go off at the break. The game, atmosphere and whole trajectory of the rest of our season was set by what the new manager decided to do to deal with that. Only in such a new position and in such a nothing-to-lose situation would the reaction have been to go to a kind of 3-4-3 set up with Rideout coming on and going upfront to join the big names who had done absolutely nothing so far, Amokachi & Ferguson. Straight away the game opened up, Southall made a great save from McManaman then Ruddock hacked through Ferguson from behind, and as legend has it, prompted the on-loan number 9 to buck up his ideas quite dramatically.

I cant speak for anyone else obviously, and maybe some people did go in just for the caricature off sending-off, arrests & 'problems' (he infamously got 'done' for drink driving the day of this game), but personally, as someone who is unashamedly adoring of Duncan Ferguson, I don't think the whole package would have had the irresistible allure if he wasn't as good a player as he was when fit and up for it.

After an outstanding save by James off an Amokachi shot, what seems inevitable in hindsight but was a complete joyous shock at the time, happened, Hinchcliffe swung in the corner and Ferguson got it before the keeper and scored one of the most iconic goals of my 25 or so years watching Everton. The rst of the game was played in a cauldron of intensity, with Rob Jones nearly equalising and a great moment of intensity meeting farce as both Horne and Parkinson absolutely flattened McManaman at the same time whilst a streaker bobbed about in the background. In the last minute, Hinchliffe hoisted over another cross, James flapped the ball at Ferguson and it broke for Rideout who slid the ball in pat a lunge of despair by both the keeper and Phil Babb to secure an unlikely and unforgettable 2-0 win.

Was football better then? In many ways, not at all. From lots of aspects, yes completely. It was certainly more viscerally exciting and even though the Premier League was off and running, as was Sky, it was still ragged enough for mad games to pop up, people to be surprised  - how massive was it though when Cole just went to Utd?? No rumours, no 'we understand blah blah blah' in the run up - and it was played out under looser parameters.

There was a shambolic side to it, a couple of weeks after this, there was some Wales game and the squad call-ups meant Southall, Horne and Dean Saunders just had to miss a very important league game for no logical reason as it clashed with Villa v Everton. Understandably, the higher stakes of today financially would mean there was relentless cry-arsing about this, all sorts of gobshites wheeled in to the studio to witter on about it - and the game would probably be rescheduled. That would make sense, but the way it would be done would suck a lot of the enjoyment out of the thing. Such is life I guess.

So how will it go this time? they clamour. Well, there is no indication at all that there'll be many goals: Everton's last two matches have been 0-0, as was the last game against Liverpool, and combined both teams have only let in 20 goals in 22 games so far this season.

That solidity translates to a pretty dull situation if you're someone who gets all hot under the collar about a bit of loose-lipped speculation regarding the line-up. Seven are absolutkley nailed on, defensively, with Lukaku bound to start up top. That leaves three places - I would go Barkley, Pienaar and Mirallas - none of which is remotely controversial.

In terms of predictions, what almost certainly wont happen is what happened last year (which I missed totally, being made promises about accessibility in the middle of the Lake District that were not kept) - if we go two down Liverpool have made a particular virtue of ramming home an advantage if they get ahead. And they're just a better team than twelve months ago: Brad Jones, Andre Wisdom, Nuri Sahin, Suso, Coates & Jonjo Shelvey aren't going to see much in the way of action on Saturday.

We've started iffily in our last three games too, so there's a clear danger in not beginning well. The 'new way' could help in that, as we'll be trying to pass from the off instead of coming out in tackles that may make the game look feisty when shown in a mini-montage going to the adverts or over the end credits but don't add much else except frustration and stop the game getting fully going. If Liverpool begin brightly though, the crowd will just have to stay with it and hope we hang on then grow into the game like v Tottenham.

The absolute critical area will be around the fringes our 18 yard box. I actually searched for just a generic new-fangled graphic photo to show I was talking about "stats and stuff" at this point, but it is actually of Suarez's touches this season so in theory pertinent to the mangled point I'm making. I dont worry too much about Liverpool's wide players and as good as they are, I dont see Suarez and Sturridge getting too much out of Distin and Jagilelka in the area from crosses or long-balls, but they and Coutinho are all incredibly dangerous in that space just a bit further back, so Barry and McCarthy are going to be vital and will most likely both get booked and give away a couple of cynical free-kicks.

At t'other end, I cant see that we've settled on a plan of how to get Lukaku involved regularly enough at all, and attacking-wise we haven't really 'clicked' apart from the first half v Newcastle and 2nd v Villa. Our best way to a goal will be a snap-shot from one of the midfield/support strikers.

So, finishing on a blindly optimistic partisan note, and realising I haven't actually said anything in the process of writing this that many people would disagree with -  I'm calling a a flattering, fraught, far from fabulous, 1-0 win for Everton with Barkley getting the winner.

'what, no politics bit??'

Friday, 15 November 2013

Culture, Alienation, Boredom & Despair


I wouldn't usually go in for a 'human interest' British film with Judi Dench starring, me. Not European enough, not historical enough, not political enough, too Judi Dench~y by half.
But thank god for Steve Coogan, as if he hadn't written, produced and starred (as journalist Martin Sixsmith) in this, I almost certainly wouldn't have seen it, which would have been a massive shame, as it's excellent, one of the best of 2013. Also, thank god he took the project under his wing, otherwise it almost certainly would have been absolutely horrible. 

What he, Steven Frears et al have done here is pretty impressive - they've taken a Tuesday afternoon TV TrueMovies-esque shamltz-fest waiting to happen and turned it into a genuinely funny, warm and interesting film. And they've done it knowingly enough for 'smart' fans to get it (his phone call to his editor flagging up openly the black/white basic premise "she's the goody...the evil wicked nuns are the nasty baddies", and the recurring little digs at "horrible journalists", "doorstepping" and anything-for-story newspapers) but kept it unknowing enough, that the 'marks', or to be fairer, people just wanting a nice story, wont be disappointed either. 

Steve Coogan is one of the best people in public life - an intelligent, funny, smart-arse, someone who likes to bang on about things most people don't want to hear about - all in all a proper sound gobshite with an inflated sense of his own opinions, everything that LoT aspires towards. He is excellent all the way through this (even if playing a New Labour affiliated Russian historian was always going to be a winner, what ever the context) , and I have to think that this is the direction he should be going full-time now. It says a lot that I've seen this, and am eagerly anticipating the next series of The Trip, but haven't yet got up the courage to chance the Partridge film. 

As good as Coogan is in \Philomena, it couldn't have possibly worked without someone playing the title role off him just as well - so hats off to 'Dame' Judi Dench, who is completely believable, eminently sympathetic and steals (or is allowed to steal) the biggest laughs in the whole film with a few well-placed hilarious lines. A revelation - given that I raised no dissent when she was described by the estimable founder of this fine website as "'Garb' Garby Garbage" but a year ago.

The scene where they are together at the airport before setting off to try to trace her orphaned son in America, and Philomena describes in minute detail the book she's just finished reading begins funny and gets funny, is oddly poignant - and will ring oh-so-true to anyone who's ever asked their Gran on the sly who the fit-looking one in Emmerdale is, and been deservedly made to sit through no-plot-twist-too-small, 40 minute , exhaustive recap of the character's entire back-story as a penance. 

I suppose its possible there are some people out there who think that what should have been a pure mother-seeks-son heart-string-tugger has been sullied by the way its been done - that the very palely painted leftish tinge (criticism of anti-gay Republican policies, unflattering depiction of the catholic church) has somehow spoiled that, but I would think they'd have to really try very hard to not be won over by the overall excellence of a film I thought was nigh-on perfectly pitched throughout. 

 '1913' & Spin The Globe

Two pretty simple ideas here - one a book, one a radio programme. The common thread is picking one set point in time, then ranging off around the world to see what was going on at the same time, with little if any knowledge or communication between the disparate people and events that throws up. 

In the Spin The Globe, that point is 5th November 1605, the date of "the biggest non-event in history" with the Gunpowder Plot. 

The show is only 30 minutes, which works perfectly in recreating the whistle-stop kind of effect the producers were obvious going for, with the option for any listeners to go off on their own and follow-up anything that caught their attention particularly in their own time. Now, I haven't done that, but is no reflection on the quality of the programme, which is pitched at the less-serious end of the scale when it comes to BBC Radio 4 History (like being one of the less-dastardly capitalist fellating investment banks, or in the less-dry wing of Ryvvita flavours maybe), as we get a brief introduction to, in no order, the first ever newspaper being printed in Strasbourg, a volcano erupting in Peru, the time of troubles in Russia, Polish troops occupying The Kremlin, Shah Abbas running amok in Iran (replete with "a rather proud and fantastic looking handlebar moustache") and goings on in Virginia involving Tisquantum which were particularly hard to follow. 

Far more easy to comprehend is 1913, which takes the eponymous year and investigates the cultural circumstances between the year the Titanic sank and the year the First World War began. 

The narrative is chopped up into a diary-like style and that helps the book whizz-along at a raucous pace - I did the 250~ish pages in a couple of readings. One of the highlights comes pretty early on, framing the bizarre co-incidences that led to Stalin, Hitler & Tito all being in the same Vienna park during "an icy February gleaming in snow-white splendour". The erratic hopping between people, places and disciplines adds to the enjoyment, as whenever there's something you're not really interested in, the next paragraph jags off to reveal that the author of Bambi (Felix Salten) also produced 'challenging' & 'subversive' pornography that was banned in Vienna. 

..........the first Aldi being opened, a man having his penis bitten off by a donkey, the discovery of the ozone layer, Stalin fuming because he couldn't get into the nanny of the family he lodged with, the Federal Reserve being founded in New York, 'women issues and intrigues', Hitler painting, Futurists wearing wooden spoons in their coat pockets, 'ladies dresses, perfumed draperies, pink silk sheets', Franz Ferdinand playing with model railways, 'the audience couldn't swallow - they roundly hissed the piece', Franz Kafka, Einstein, Picasso, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, sparkling win, Charlie Chaplin signing his first film contract....

........all are interwoven with jarring background snippets such as "on June 29th the Reichstag passes a military bill approving the increase of troops from 117,267 men to 661,478" to juxtapose brilliantly the flippant backdrop to what was to come - which is extremely effective: even though you know that's never been the way the world works, there's a temptation to imagine the build-up to anything momentous as everyone just sitting around grimly waiting for the inevitable to happen. 

A brilliantly conceived and wittily pulled off book - probably best summed up by this diary extract from September: 
"3 o'clock, Gerhart Fisher funeral.
5 o'clock big dress rehearsal for William Tell play!
That's life....."

Predistribution & White-Tie Black Noise

Two very differing 'articles' I came across this week combined to give both the best indication yet of what Labour in government might look like if they win in 2015, and also pointed out an enormous flaw with their efforts so far to make that happen and shift the lumpen, miserable shower we have currently. . 

The first was an edition of Analysis on R4 with Jacob Hacker talking convincingly, engagingly and intelligently and predistribution ('an unsnappy name for an inspiring idea'). I actually listened to this on the bus home from work and realised I'm in danger of going a bit too far with this kind of thing at times - a feeling not diminished by the stubborn refusal to sit next to me for a good while. When we got up by the uni though, a reassuringly fusty looking lecturer in his 50s shambled towards the empty seat and i thought to myself 'he'll probably appreciate me listening to this if there is any seepage through my headphones'. 

But he wasn't interested at all - he sat down and went immediately on his iPhone to the Attitude website and very thoroughly reviewed a photogallery of Tom Daley's crowing 'Sexiest Man In The World'. If there was anything he appreciated, it wasn't the idea of the state acting sooner to prevent inequality through progressive taxation. And if there was any seepage at all, it wasn't from me, and it wasn't from the ear-area...

So, Jacob Hacker. He's a guy from Yale who has developed this theory and Ed Miliband is by all accounts keener on it than this guy is for the new series of Splash! to get started. 

The programme goes on for 30 minutes and if Miliband said 90% of what Hacker says, anyone who has any interest in or affection for the Labour cause couldn't help but agree:

  • Government should see itself as a vehicle for achieving equality and solidarity
  • There are ties that bind people above and beyond just being fellow consumers
  • Workers should have a voice (whether in a union or not)
  • The number and quality of jobs needs to be improved, and jobs need to pay more. Especially for cleaners  nurses and other essential jobs
  • Everyone should earn a fair, decent, living wage
  • Public sector jobs should be created to both do vital things for society as well as moving towards full employment, particularly in housing which is crying out for investment
  • This should produce broadly distributed gains which translate into economic gains for everyone
  • There is no excuse for poor public services, and if needs be aggressive taxation of extreme wealth and capital gains needs to be introduced to fund improvements - especially in certain areas (e.g. early-years childcare)
  • Government needs to make long-term investments in people (eg the Child Trust Fund)
  • In terms of welfare/benefits, the public has lost faith in this, so the contributory & reciprocal elements need to be re-inforced
  • We can learn from and utilise the methods used by Not-for-profit and 'foundation' companies
  • The trend of recent decades where society has become more and more unequal, unless things like the above are introduced, is going to become self-reproducing as the super-rich plough their money only into their own children, and opportunity becomes privatised. 

  • The second was this article in the Guardian written by someone who worked as a waitress at the Prime Minister's speech when he summoned all his intellectual rigour to set out his vision for the country: permanent spending cuts, more austerity, less state involvement in anything

    And all whilst dressed as if he was making a bid to embody the implications of this approach as emphatically as possible.

    As Ruth Hardy says "The contrast between what he was saying and where he was saying it seemed initially almost too laughable to get worked up about...The guests enjoyed a champagne reception, and then were served a starter, a fish course and main course of fillet of beef, all served with wine, dessert, coffee, dessert wine, port, brandy and whisky were served, Cameron gave his speech. Maybe Cameron didn't see the irony, perhaps it didn't occur to him that this message might not be as easily comprehended by ...those of us, disabled or unemployed or on the minimum wage, for whom austerity has had a catastrophic and wounding effect."

    The combination of these two different ends the same argument should be absolutely lethal weapons for Labour- the intellectual big-picture plan. The emotional, humourous irreverence But then there's the obvious problem: neither Hacker or Hardy are actually Labour representatives

    Why is it not shadow-cabinet figures making these speeches and writing these artciles?

    Ed Miliband is really, really good when he steps up, better than a lot of people realise, and I can give him the benefit of the doubt for now because there is a possible strategic plan to save himself and keep himself a bit of novelty and fresh quality for when he's going to need to be everywhere in a year/18months time.

    Ed Ball's role is to be 'iron discipline' personified up to the election, so it is difficult for him to match that with rabble-rousing or difficult to grasp theoretical oratorios.

    Everyone else though? Hello?? What are you actually doing???

    As Hacker says to sum up the idea behind and need for predistribution - 'do we want to live in a society where just the uber-well-off elite jet-set around as untouchable cosmopolitans, whilst the rest are a constrained, squeezed, worried mass of spectators peering in on an unattainable, broken world of big dollars, pounds and cents?'

    I'm fairly certain more people will vote for a rejection of that, than someone who couldn't be doing any more to show he's comfortable with exactly that. But if Labour don't start actually asking people the question a bit more, they're going to only have themselves to blame if it three years time we see another set of buttons popping off this tux:

    Friday, 8 November 2013

    Your Achilles Heel Is A Tendancy To Dream

    Backer than back.

    Backer than Eirik Bakke, listening to Bach at Bache station.

    And what about tomorrow's match wouldn't be drawing people's attention after months of inaction?

    Palace v Everton Baby!

    All About The Game (and how you play it)
    Its extremely difficult to come up with a case other than 'weird things happen' and 'its Everton' for this to be anything other than a comfortable away win. We've played pretty well all season, especially away from home against teams below us in the league - it seems to be a good combination for us when the home team thinks they should be having a go and causing problems, the change to having out and out midfielders (albeit not the most adventurous) instead of defenders 'doing a job' has had the not illogical effect of improving our passing from a bit deeper, setting us up for breaks better.

    So, you'd expect Barry & Mccarthy to start even though there's been some 'getting ahead of ourselves' talk of not playing one/both so that they're not injured/suspended for the derby. Incidentally, what I've said there about better passing from the back doesn't incorporate Jagielka's scything hoofs across the pitch, which remain awful, despite some odd praise for them. This website (which I often refer to, not just when it comes up on Google to support a pithy comment) "Totel Football" has it right:

    Phil Jagielka's Characteristics 
    Likes to play long balls:
    Very Often

    The defence & keeper do seem to have got themselves sorted out again, only letting it 1 in the last three games, after a bit of an iffy spell, although there's a feeling that letting in one absolute farce of a goal is going to happen soon (Distin's near OG v Hull).

    If seven of the side are pretty much guaranteed to start, the four further forward gives a bit more room for manoeuvre. I dont think the quartet that played v Spurs have really been consistent, despite all having flashes of quality, so Barkley, Deulofeu, Naismith and even maybe Jelavic could all be options. Despite his two starts so far being an iffy win over Stevenage and a loss at Fulham, I think i'd take a chance on the Spaniard this weekend

    You look at Palace's squad......(have to actually do this, not just use the expression as shorthand for 'think about what players they have, what they're like, how they might line-up' as I genuinely dont think ive seen them play since that mad game when Danny Butterfield got a hattrick) ....and when we signed this lad off Barca, I'm sure it was with the intention of thinking he would have the arrogance to shred the likes of these. He worked well against Spurs lasts week and could have nicked it, so I would put him in for the mysteriously underwhelming Mirallas, and put Barkley back in for Osman as well.

    Without trying to be the contrary wise-ass, I think Lukaku has been a tiny bit over-hyped too. He seems to need the whole team to focus through him a bit too much, and can drift out the game more easily than you'd want. He's clearly the best option we've got at the moment, but I think the lazy narrative that Mourinho has got it totally wrong by thinking Torres/Eto'o might score more and do more for the team over the season might end up being revised.

    Brokedown Palace

    Kate Beckinsale has a phobia of what? Answer at the end of this bit!

    So, call me old fashioned, but the only player i actually know enough of to say 'he's actually a good player' is Kevin Phillips, who is 40. I actually think he was under-rated and must have come very close to getting a proper big move at one point. For a long, long period he'd have been recived with open arms at Goodison. In fact, if you look at the European Golden Boot winners list, it runs: Ronaldo (34), Jardel (36), Phillips (30), Jardel (42!) - and he's the only English player to have ever won it. A lot of them were spectacular goals too. I actually remember him playing v us in a rank Sunderland team in 2002/03 and thinking he was a much better all-round player than I'd ever allowed for too.

    So, I'd play him if I was......Keith Millen, of course, Keith Millen tomorrow. There was a stat on MOTD last week that Chamakh has managed two shots on target in nine games, so he could hardly do worse. Jimmy Kebe is probably the 'danger man' aside from Phillips, although that agsain is based on an impression from over five years ago.

    So, all in all I cant predict anything other than an Everton win, although the sight of all 15 sheets in Hotshots in work going for an away victory makes me wary of saying it - 2-0 to the Blues.

    Its emetophobia - fear of vomiting. Dont really know how that works, hope it doesnt affect her too much though, 'cause she's lovely isnt she? Coming up to Christmas too, chance that the flawless festive feast that is Serendipity might get shown....

    The old days were the old days. And they were great days. But now is now.

    Unless I've misremembered, in the Premier League Years, we've been to Selhurst to play Palace four times and won four(2-0, 4-1, 3-1,3-1), with one loss during the monstrous Mike Walker dynasty of disaster - to an Andy Preece goal, which gave Palace their first win in about the tenth game of the season. So there is a potential equivalent there for a horrible loss to a goal from a sub-prime performer, but I dont think there's much 'read in' from that or the other previous encounters.

    In 93, Everton dogged out a grim win on a grisly pitch in the January gloom. Nigel Martyn hacked down Beardsley in the first half but inexplicably wasn't sent off, but in the second half Matt Jackson potted the ball past the future Over-Rated-Everton-XI keeper after being teed-up by future Gobshite-Everton-Pundit-XI stalwart Ian Snodin. Beardsley had the last laugh by making it 2-0 late on from a neat scooped ball by future Wasted-Talent-Everton-XI captain Billy Kenny.

    This game is also 'notable' as an unsightly chapter in the catalogue of incompetence that is the 92-93 Everton season review video, the "highlights" just being indiscriminately chosen chunks of inconsequential play - an ambling passage that goes no-where, curtailed eventually by an offside and "Roger Milford....stopping play" shown in laborious detail, then the goals rattled through in blink-and-you'll-miss-it cuts, with no commentary.

    And no, I haven't seen it for years, I just remember all that. I am that cool.

    Brand Extension Exercise

    Jo Brand (pictured above in a picture on loan from the Most 90s Things Ever Gallery) supports Palace, which I am going to use to segue off into a political bit that no-one will like in a minute but I only remembered her at all, because she recently appeared on this: Can't Stand Up For Falling down , a nice little Radio 4 programme about Stand-Ups 'dying' on stage. Now all Jo Brand ever says is 'Men! I'm Fat! Arsenal!' right? - everyone knows that. But in fact in this instance she veered away from doing that and actually told a hilarious story Explained here (involves Sooty).

    She has also been (in an incredibly minor way) in the news recntly supporting the NHS vehemently and saying

    “To me, a politician’s job is to listen to constituents’ problems and try to sort them out.

    "I suspect most politicians feel overwhelmed because people’s lives are a real struggle, full of unhappiness, and you would probably feel powerless to do anything about it.

    "So you have to be a particular type of person to cope with that.

    “I wonder how members of the present Tory Government can have any idea just how hard it is for most people, given how wealthy they all are. They don’t understand what being poor means.

    “I like Ed Miliband very much and think he is a very decent bloke, and I hope the nation is warming to him.”

    All of which I agree with and is conspicuously more constructive than her Russel Comic namesake's pathetic cry for absenteeism. I genuinely don't understand how he can attempt to be the voice of revolution, whilst at the same time espousing a course of action that if taken to its logical conclusion wopuld usher in an indefinate period of rule by the incumbent Conservatives - something that you'd think he'd realise was in fact quite a conservative, revolutionary thing to do.

    Pork And Beans

    This bit isnt even topical by the way.

    Hypocrisy's great though isn't it? Everyone loves a politician being a complete hypocritical gimp, particularly when the one doing it is Danny "The Absolute Fucking State Of Him Though" Garbexander.

    This was him in 2010, supporting Cameron & Clegg in the 'difficult & painful' decision to cancel all the attempt-at-growth plans Labour had put in place:

    "Before the election Lord Mandelson had a giant chequebook which he went round opening up all over the country... he promised 200 projects, two thirds of which were conveniently located in Labour marginal seats.. the truth is that (these loans) were promised by the outgoing Labour Government as a calculated ploy to win support in (Labour areas)"

    Such lofty, apolitical, putting the country first, all in it together, sentiments. So, how surprising that this should pop up a month or so:

    As we get closer to the election, we are likely to see ever more instances of "pork barrel" politics, an invaluable US term to describe the use of government money for the benefit of ministers' constituents. Of the 10 areas that Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will announce will benefit from the rebate scheme (a 5p reduction in fuel duty), eight have Lib Dem MPs, including two in his own Inverness constituency .....this isn't the first time that Alexander, whose seat is being aggressively targeted by Labour, has doused his constituents with state largesse, "including funding for a tourist railway, a bailout for the London-Scotland sleeper train and tax breaks for ski lifts."

    Spurious File Photo Of Dog Pushing A Pram

    So, all that remains is to stick in a completely unrelated and immaterial photo in to end on a nominally light note - and wish a 'Happy Stag Day' for tomorrow to the Phidler!!!

    "If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain!"