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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is a Justin Beiber, and why the hell should we care?
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.
Welcome back Darren Fletcher. He should keep the armband.
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.
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?
Will my friend Fred in Sydney please tell me whether he is for or against this?
Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool
Another good reason for a Yes vote.
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!
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.