Archive for January, 2014

Sorry, Naomi

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

My friend’s partner is a Spurs fan. He will be walking on eggshells today, but her anger is justified. Her team were always going to lose last night, but to be walloped thanks to the second-worst penalty decision of the season, that takes some accepting.

The worst call of the season is the penalty awarded to Chelsea in the last minute of injury time vs West Brom, a howler for which the referees’ boss apologised. The same ref gave last night’s spot-kick to Man City, but only after he had awarded (correctly) a corner kick, and then allowed himself to be over-ruled by his linesman. His sin was compounded when he red-carded the Spurs player involved, thereby cheating everyone who had paid to see a much-anticipated eleven-a-side encounter. There are millions riding, in various ways, on every Premier League game. If a referee’s confidence is so low that he can’t back his own judgement, then he should not be out there. As for the flag-wavers, they should stick to their own job, which is difficult enough. If they’re asked for a view, okay, but they should never be allowed to contradict a referee once he has given a decision.

Categories: Sport

When your van is a joke

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I have a fascination for TV ads that are really crap. For example the Victor Chandler Series, or those awful Wonga creations. But for me the bottom of the quality league at the moment is a commercial for something called Vanarama. If I had the need for a van, for sure I would go nowhere near a company that could commission something as terrible as that.

Top of my quality league at the moment? Probably Thomson Holidays’ ‘The Story of Simon the Ogre.’

Categories: General

Value for money

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

The BBC told me this morning that the Royal Family costs the British taxpayer £31m a year, and that The Firm is under pressure to cut costs.

In its last financial year, the BBC cost the British taxpayer, through the euphemistically named Licence Fee, £3,656m.

Make what you will of that.



Categories: General

Little box

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Every so often I read or hear a news report of someone having died, and I say ‘Again?’

So it was  this morning with Pete Seeger. Back in the early Sixties when we all wore  Aran sweaters and sang Clancy Brothers songs when we were steaming, Pete was the great folkie icon. He was a big part of my vinyl collection and most of my discs were played all the way through. The great thing about him in those pre-Dylan days was his ability to write songs about things that mattered, when very other composer did exactly the opposite. If he didn’t invent Bob Dylan, he sure played a big part in his creation.

Then he faded away into old age, and now at 94, he’s gone to the great Hootenanny in the sky. On behalf of my generation, thanks Pete.

Categories: General

The Fearties and the FCO

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

An excellent piece today by Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald, revealing a black Foreign Office operation to sabotage the independence campaign  is well worth reading. For anyone who thinks it’s far-fetched, it isn’t. Cameron is running scared, no question about it.

There is no overwhelming argument against independence. In my current experience the people who are most vociferously against it are those who fear the taxation consequences, and they, ironically, have the least need  to worry about them. If my Scottish passport costs me more in tax each year, I’ll live with that.

Categories: General, Politics

Was there ever a man more aptly named?

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: Politics

Stephen Harper goes too far

January 24, 2014 1 comment
Categories: General, Politics

Politics and sport?

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Those with an interest in Spain and its institutions may be raising an eyebrow at the news of the resignation of the President of FC Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, following a decision by a Spanish court to accept a lawsuit against him and the club in relation to the signing last summer of a big money player. I heard his farewell speech last night live on TV, when he said that he was leaving so that personal attacks would no longer affect the management of  the club. He made the statement  in the club’s press room, and when it was over he was given a standing ovation and applauded from the room.

This controversy follows last year’s prosecution of Lionel Messi and his father over a disputed multi-million euro tax bill. The two have already settled the alleged debt, plus penalties yet the prosecution continues, with prison a theoretical possibility. It maybe no coincidence that Messi’s form has dropped a little this season.

Now many Catalan people are asking: if Real Madrid was the club involved in these matters would its reputation or its player be dragged through the courts? One-word answer: no.

Categories: Politics, Sport


January 23, 2014 2 comments

What is a Justin Beiber, and why the hell should we care?

Categories: General


January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse …

For the last 20 years and more, Man U supporters have been guilty of the sin of pride. That sin has found us out, and indeed it has come before a fall. Forget all that led up to it; when four out of five players fail to convert penalty kicks, that is some sort of a nadir. Worse, when at least three senior players do not step up to take on the responsibility, it indicates a total lack of faith in themselves and an unwillingness to support a manager and a club in trouble.

Yesterday I read that United may have to curtail their pre-season tour to play a Europa League qualifier. Fat chance.

Categories: Sport


January 22, 2014 4 comments

Welcome back  Darren Fletcher. He should keep the armband.

Categories: Sport

Under the hammer

January 22, 2014 2 comments

How do you know when you’re watching too much TV?

It came home to me to  me yesterday, when I was looking in on Bargain Hunt, and realised that I’d seen it before.

Categories: General


January 21, 2014 Leave a comment

A footballer in England is in trouble for touching his left sleeve with his right hand after scoring a goal. Apparently this gesture may be interpreted as anti-semitic in France, an intention which said footballer denies vehemently. If our media had not gone berserk, nobody in Britain would have had a clue to its meaning or even noticed that it had happened, yet now the kangaroo court is ready to sit and the player is presumed guilty with no real means of proving his innocence.

Since a free media tends to reflect the society that it serves, is it fair to conclude that we have become a nation of hysterical idiots?

Categories: Politics, Sport

Time, mates

January 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Will my friend Fred in Sydney please tell me whether he is for or against this?

Categories: General

How to eat an ice cream wafer

January 17, 2014 4 comments

Categories: Pics

Music While I Work

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool

Categories: General

God save us from Red Ed

January 17, 2014 3 comments
Categories: Politics

CPS at it again

January 16, 2014 1 comment
Categories: General

The first of Spring

January 16, 2014 4 comments

I finished reading a book last night, and now I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever enjoyed a debut crime novel more that I liked ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling‘ by Robert Galbraith. I don’t believe I have. I predict that Mr Galbraith has a big future as a mystery writer, if he isn’t taken up by other interests.

If you don’t know who Robert Galbraith is, look her up!

Categories: General

Into the darkness

January 15, 2014 2 comments

Back in Spain, where the ex-pat community is in a state of fear and foreboding over the imminent switch of FreeSat broadcasting to a new satellite with a  smaller footprint. There’s been a lot of misinformation, much of it circulated, it is said, by people with an interest in selling streaming devices which are probably illegal and probably don’t work, but it does seem that dark skies are looming.

That’s FreeSat, but what about Sky? It’s estimated, possibly conservatively, that there are a million ex-pat subscribers to its channels, each one paying five hundred quid a year or more through UK proxies. That raises an interesting question. Will Newscorp be prepared to watch an annual income stream of half a billion pounds vanish from its coffers? Let’s wait and see.

What I find hard to understand is why, in modern Europe, where every EU citizen can cross every EU border, a television signal may not.


Categories: General