Having breakfast this morning, scanning BBC, Sky, the Guardian on my iPad. Eileen asked, ‘Is there any good news?’ Had a really good look; couldn’t find any.
Top story on Sky was of a British tourist who is under investigation for indecent behaviour in Malaysia as one of a group who stripped off on top of a sacred mountain. If there was ever a definition of a slow news day, that is it.
Okay, I stayed with The Interceptor to the end. Paul Kaye’s gone, but Trevor Eve as the bad guy is worth sticking with. However I wish the producers would remember that not everyone finds it easy to following t he mumbling of Londoners.
Watching ‘The Interceptor’. Only saving grace so far, Paul Kaye.
Every heard of a film called United Passions? No? God, you’re lucky.
Said turkey premiered in the USA last Friday, June 5. In its opening weekend, it grossed a staggering $918 in box office takings, staggering because that is not a mistype; I have omitted no zeros, not a single nothing. To put that in context, the US box office opening weekend record is held by Marvel’s The Avengers, which grossed $207,438,708.
For those who give a toss about wasted resources on a global scale, United Passions is a French-made English language ‘drama’ about the origins of FIFA, the world’s most discredited sporting organisation. It cost around £20m to produce and 90% of that was covered by FIFA itself, making it one of the most expensive examples of vanity publishing every recorded.
It stars a number of hitherto respected actors, including Tim Roth, whose distinguished filmography includes major roles in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Rob Roy, for which he won a BAFTA, and who is now wishing he had never, ever allowed his agent to talk him into playing Sepp Blatter.
He is joined in the stellar cast by Gerard Depardieu as Jules Rimet, Sam Neill as Joao Havelange, Martin Jarvis as Sir Stanley Rous, and Thomas Kretschmann as Horst Dassler, the dark figure behind FIFA and Havelange, and a man who would be on the FBI’s list for sure had he not been conveniently dead since 1987.
This sleazy product is not yet available on Amazon UK, only on the French site. If it is ever offered I may buy it, if only to find out how bad it is. At the moment, my greatest objection is to the use of the word ‘United‘ in its title, in case it leads the unworldly to imagine that it has any connection with Old Trafford.
Whatever the Spanish say about June 23 being the official date, summer has begun. The Bells are ringing in L’Escala.
Quarter to eleven last night in L’Escala and the fireworks exploded. That’s what happens when Barca win the Champions League. Oh for such pyrotechnics in Glasgow next year.
Poor old Charlie Kennedy. There should be privacy in death.
Out now in ebook format, a compilation of the first three Skinner titles. Here’s one place to find it:
For those who have never read Skinner’s Rules but would like to, and what the hell for those who have but lost their copy, there’s a special ebook offer running this month . . . no, scratch that a very special offer . . . no scratch that too, a ludicrously special offer. To find it, follow this link:
Old Sepp may have said that he intends to resign as soon as his successor is chosen, a process that’ll take six months, but with Jack Warner about to open Pandora’s penalty box, how long will he actually stay in post? My suspicion is that he may be out of there in a few days, but if he does go what happens? Does the general secretary oversee the new election . . . and will he be a candidate?
The presumption is that a new poll will take place under the existing rules, those that led to Blatter creating his fortress. The last thing the game needs is a new Sepp, put in place by that rag-tag of corrupt associations around the world whose votes have been bought for the last five elections. The second-last thing the game needs is for its governance to be handed over to a Sheik from a nation with absolutely no status in the game, and two of those are being named as potential candidates.
In some ways, the situation was better with Blatter in post. Now the door is open for the devil we don’t know.
Sorry I’m not on the newly launched programme for Bloody Scotland 2015. My fault, I guess.
Last year I was booked in to share a platform with the brilliant Caro Ramsay, but had to pull out, to my great regret, because of my wife’s illness. This year I was hot to trot, naturally, and waited for my hoped for invite with suitably bated, and fresh, breath. Very late in the day, the Director, offered me, by email, a panel. It was an exact repeat of one I was two days away from doing at another venue. I didn’t think that was a good idea from anyone’s POV, so I said so and turned it down.
No alternative was offered, so I won’t be there. Regardless, I urge you to give Scotland’s own crime festival your full support. It won’t be the worse for my absence, but let nobody be in any doubt, I am enormously pissed off to be missing it.
I’m a Vodafone user. Every time I come to Spain I’m advised to switch on the Europe Traveller service. For only £3 a day, they tell me, I can use the calls and texts in my UK bundle. Just for fun, I did, then made a short phone call to my daughter to test out a claim that I also saw on the Vodacrap website, that under my ‘Big Red Value Bundle’ the call would then be free. It wasn’t; they lied. Cost me £3. If did did leave the service switched on and sent a couple of texts each day, and made a couple of calls, my normal usage, they would cost me an extra £90 plus VAT on my monthly bill.
My Vodacrap contract is up in a couple of months. I am counting the days.
Half an hour ago, I took a call on my mobile, from a number I didn’t recognise. The caller advised me that he was from ‘Personal Injury Lawyers’, or some such, and that was as far as he got. I am afraid that I was less than patient, advising him that I was in Spain, and that answering his unwanted call was costing me money. I intimated that if he ever did it again he would be in need of his own services.
I know, I shouldn’t have taken it out on the lad. He has a job, where thousands don’t, even if it is in the Derek and Clive class. (RIP Jayne Mansfield.) Instead I should call the chief executive of the Law Society and rip into him, as should everyone else who is as pissed off as I am with cold calls and texts from repellant ambulance chasing lawyers. There was a time when lawyers were not allowed to advertise their services. That may have been a little restrictive but the profession has gone to the other extreme. There is no escape from the bastards.
I have tried to do something about it, through the legal services ombudsman, but its complaint machinery seems designed to protect rather than stop such abuses, and spent so long waiting for ‘live chat’ that I began to suspect the the Zombie Apocalypse has already swept through London. My next step will probably be the aforementioned Law Society itself, and its Scottish equivalent, but I don’t expect too much joy from them, as they set the abuse in motion in the first place by voting to give their profession free rein.
After that? Maybe I’ll have a chat with George Kerevan, my new MP.
Take 15 minutes to watch this; please. Priceless.
Found myself idly wondering last night about the implications of Margaret Paterson, the Edinburgh ‘madam’, being ordered by the court last week to cough up £1m of her criminally acquired fortune.
If it’s true that she was meticulous in paying tax on her activities, as has been reported, does that mean that HMRC is also guilty of profiting from immoral earnings?
So I was wrong; Motherwell did turn over Rangers and will play in what passes for the Scottish Premiership next season.
Am I blue about that? No, of course not, but I am narked that it will be at least 14 months before the next possible league meeting between the two clubs. League reconstruction has become a continuous process in Scottish football and yesterday’s result will put more fuel in its tank. Unfortunately, it doesn’t know where it’s heading and it doesn’t have satnav.
Nothing would please me more than a sudden burst of sanity among the game’s governors, leading to Hibs, Rangers, St Mirren and Falkirk being plucked out of ‘The Championship’, as our second division is laughingly named, and installed in a new sixteen club top division, to kick off in September. A sixteen-club league serves the Portuguese very well, and we don’t exactly look down on them in terms of quality. The game’s administrators will rush to tell me that such a set-up would wipe eight games off the Premiership calendar, but they could be made up by devoting August to a seeded mini-league stage of a revamped League Cup, a format that was enormously popular in my youth.
It isn’t going to happen, not because of European qualifiers or anything like that, but because of greed. Forty years ago this summer Scottish football abandoned its traditional home and away structure in favour of a new format in which clubs played each other four times a season. They didn’t do that to serve the best interests and development of the game, but so that each non Old Firm club could have four Old Firm home games in each season, with the full houses they insured. There may have been a hope that general quality would improve also, but with the exception of the Fergie years at Aberdeen and the McLean period at Dundee United, that didn’t happen. In fact the opposite came to pass; for the last thirty years no side other than Rangers or Celtic has won the Premier League title, and in the same period only three clubs other than the big two, namely Aberdeen, Hearts and Motherwell, have ever finished runner-up. The original purpose of the structure has been lost also. Yesterday’s season-ending game, with so much at stake, attracted only 9,220 spectators, around 60% of the capacity of the Fir Park ground.
If it isn’t working any more, at any level, why do the governors of the people’s game cling to the structure?
A quote from the Footjoy TV ad: ‘This is the shoe that took advancement to a new level.’
WTF does that mean?
I’m posting this an hour before Motherwell FC, my team and my curse, take the field to defend a two goal lead in the second leg of the play-off for a place in the Scottish Premiership next season. Their opponents, Rangers.
They will lose. Gary Lineker is credited with saying that the rules of football are simple. The game is played by teams of eleven a side and the Germans always win. There is a third rule that he overlooked. Motherwell never beat Rangers twice in a row.
The really terrible thing is that this time the Scottish game needs them to lose. We have to have Rangers back in the top flight, suitably humbled, yes, with lowered expectations, but Scottish football can’t do without them at that level.
If by some miracle,’Well do see them off this afternoon, the Gers face another year playing Hibs, St Mirren, Falkirk etc, another year of significant financial losses, and a steadily declining balance sheet. Sure, they now have Dave King as chairman. Yet I do not hear of Mr King, who is said to have blown twenty million in his previous association with the club, having put any of his own cash into the pot this time around. He does have significant equity in the business, but this was acquired from existing shareholders. His plan seems to be a share issue but this will be severely hampered if Rangers do remain in the second tier. What would he do then? Stump up his own money? I wonder.
And if not? Suppose, heaven forfend, that he doesn’t actually have as much folding money as the Scottish media believes. Is the great Govan monolith as safe as we are told? That’s why Rangers have to win in a couple of hours. Our game can’t afford to discover that it is not.