Thursday, January 26, 2006

There was some questioning the other day about my views of the Man Utd v Liverpool match. So to show that I run a free thinking site, here is a selection of what was written about the match in national newspapers...

The Liverpool revival under Rafael Benitez is every bit as real as United's decline over the past few years. This was a gloriously satisfying victory for United, a reminder of the times when they would routinely score late winners at the Stretford End, but the comparisons with the glory days did not go much farther. Time will tell whether a first defeat in 13 Premiership matches has a deflating effect on a Liverpool team entering their most demanding period of the season, but on the balance of play yesterday, it was hard to escape the conclusion that the second-best team in England were the ones wearing white shirts. Liverpool controlled the game throughout, with Steven Gerrard and Mohammed Sissoko dwarfing the relative pygmies in a makeshift home midfield, but were made to pay the price for retreating fatally when the United rally came, largely courtesy of Rooney and Ryan Giggs.
Oliver Kay The Times

PRIDE OF THE NORTH WEST? Still Liverpool as far as I am concerned. As they did against Chelsea, Manchester United have nicked a fortunate win against a superior team. Short-term elation for them, but for the long haul, Liverpool look a better bet to finish second come the end of the season. With their two matches in hand, they could rise above United sooner rather than later. Rafael Benitez's men will be pig sick at losing, especially in such a cruel way, but they should take comfort from the knowledge that they were better from back to front. Especially in the midfield, where Mohamed Sissoko, Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso ran the show. Committed, tough-tackling with a mean streak, they break up the play and ease the pressure on the defence. United's midfield is nowhere near as effective. It also struck me how tall Liverpool's players are. That can only make the team more intimidating.
Tony Cascarino The Times

This report should say United ambushed their biggest enemy, then declared war on Jose Mourinho's men, marching down the M6 with battle standard raised. Today Liverpool, tomorrow the world. But it didn't feel that way. It looked liker a desperate header from a centre half rescuing the club from creeping mediocrity. It was a result that told a fib. They won the struggle to be regarded as the second best team in England, but failed to win the wider battle for hearts and minds. The few remaining players who still have class of '92 running through them like a stick of rock aren't blind to the drop in standards. When Liverpool's fine run of victories and a draw in 12 Premiership outings was finally stopped, Gary Neville patented a Mancunian haka in front of the visitors' end – grabbing his shorts and kissing his badge like an especially truculent All Black.
Paul Hayward The Daily Mail

United had been forced to endure far more than Liverpool in just about every respect until the last few minutes of a tense, enthralling but largely uneventful encounter. The European champions had enjoyed the majority of possession, had dominated midfield and created the better of the chances. Sadly for those hoping to see a side put pressure on Chelsea, the wrong side secured victory. Had Liverpool beaten their great rivals and they won their two games in hand, they would have been seven points adrift of the premiership leaders. As it is, and only someone as determined as Gerrard may refuse to except this, the chance to catch Jose Mourinho's side has now gone.
Matt Lawton Daily Mail

Liverpool can be proud of the way they went about their business. It was a tight game but Liverpool were the better side. United were wounded after their defeat in the derby match last week so for Liverpool to go to Old Trafford and do so well is a great tribute to them. I still think in the general scheme of things Liverpool are in a better position than United, even though they lost yesterday. If you were a Liverpool fan you would be unhappy with the result but happy with the performance and you could see that at the end as United players celebrated as though they had won the Cup final.
Alan Hansen The Daily Telegraph

Manchester United remain second in the Premiership and the great symbolic shift in the power structure of English football was put on hold, at least until Liverpool play their two games in hand. Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez had to join Jose Mourinho in contemplating the dismantling here of an unbeaten run without having any real evidence to help him understand how it happened. Liverpool should have won this game. For most of it they had more possession, more chances and a little more purpose. This was not a match imprinted with the usual classic qualities of these two snarling sets of rivals. Yet that too might offer a pointer to the way that Benitez is reeling in United and preparing them to take over the mantle of Chelsea's most serious challengers. He is doing it gradually, methodically, without any big, symbolic statements of intent against the other battalions of the Big Four. You left Old Trafford yesterday with the impression that United might only stem the tide of the sea change for a little while longer.
John Dillon Daily Express

Liverpool were left as frustrated as much as angry because they had held the upper hand for much of the game and squandered the clearest chance of all. But Ferdinand's goal came so late there was no time for Rafa Benitez's side to retrieve their unbeaten league record that had stretched back 12 matches to the defeat at Fulham in October. United were far from convincing but they produced the sweat, passion and determination that was lacking in the Manchester derby defeat. The fact United took 87 minutes to force their first cornerunderlined Liverpool's relative comfort.
Richard Tanner Daily Express

Liverpool made their hosts suffer in the first half, mostly by doing the simple things with passable efficiency. For long spells United could not even manage that. In the centre of Benitez's midfield, Mohamed Sissoko and Xabi Alonso were producing exactly the combination of strength and deliberation that United lacked. For those 45 minutes the three Glazer brothers, watching from the directors' box, must have been wondering why their new team had no quarterback to direct the play and get the forwards moving. And if the Premiership kept pass-completion statistics, United would surely have been establishing a new all-comers' low for the season. Richard Williams The Guardian

In the wider development of United and Liverpool and the struggle to establish themselves as Chelsea's principle challengers - it is impossible not to feel that, for long periods of time in this game, Benitez's team looked far healthier. Wayne Rooney refused to accept that Liverpool had come along to announce that his team had slipped down another rank in the pecking order of English football's aristocracy. That, though might well have been the reality but for United's late strike. The truth was that Liverpool for most of the time did look much more the coherent force. They covered the ground and generally looked the more confident side. Benitez has made extraordinary progress at Anfield but he is still a long way from settling on a strike force of genuine conviction.
Sam Wallace The independent

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I feel like I have little to say at the moment. I'm off to Swindon on Thursday - that's about it for excitement!

Photo shoot for Hey Gravity is being lined up so expect I will be "borrowing" a few pictures off their site so that you can see the new line-up and the clever stuff that Steve Brown does with the camera.

Been reading through a Q&A I did with Michael McDermott for his next newsletter. He gave some really good answers. He's a prolific song-writer - just been watching the film "Ray" about life of Ray Charles and could see some similarities. WIth all these songs he could sing, Michael was asked how he copes with remembering all the lyrics, especially when performing live and having to cope with audience requests. This is his answer:

"it usually takes some preparation.....because of the nervous energy you already have with the impending performance....when someone asks on the spot to do something you haven't in a while....its hard to let your brain relax enough to remember all the lyrics and chords for that matter....your brain is already visualizing the gig...before it by song..lyric by when someone says...."the idler" my brain wasn't planning that song....and its like a movie playing in your head already....i say " where the hell is that gonna fit in this movie that has already begun".... if i have a day...then fine...but when i'm at the venue....or preparing to go the venue...the movie has begun in my head"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

It's not how good you are, it's the number of goals you score that counts - and sadly that applied this afternoon as Liverpool's great run came to an end. Despite dominating the game you have to take your chances - are you listening Cisse? On a positive note the game did confirm to me that Liverpool remains on the up and United on a downward slope. Just need to make a few dents in Chelsea's side though.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Over the last couple of months I’ve mentioned that I have been doing some work with M.A.S.S. to help them get tracks recorded for the new album available for release. The new songs are fantastic and been creating some strong interest from labels across Europe. I’ve wanted to share some of the songs on this site but for obvious reasons they have remained under wraps.

But now you can hear a selection of some of the songs at the new site for M.A.S.S.. The big news, which I think I’ve already blogged about is that the band is undergoing a major transformation. Anna Hall (a PJ Harvey lookalike) has joined the band on guitar and as part of the “new” start, the band has changed its name to Hey Gravity (name of its first single release – and big favourite of the late John Peel). So don’t waste time reading my blog - hurry along to to hear the new sound – then you can come back and let me know what you think.

In addition if you are in or around London on 20th February, get down to the Barfly as Hey Gravity will be playing a showcase gig with the new line up. Even I plan to be there, rocking with the youngsters (OK so I might be propped up against the bar – getting too old for mosh pits!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

How secure are your details really?

I stumbled across this today when reading the small print of Camelot’s regulations on confidential information.

If you have consented to Camelot granting access to your personal information to selected third parties, you consent to their processing your personal information for the purposes of providing details of other products or services. Processing of your personal information by any third party will be in accordance with the privacy practices of that third party. Camelot will not sell your personal information to third parties.Your personal information may be transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area which may not have laws which offer similar protection to that offered to you under the Data Protection Act 1998 (the "Act") and you consent to such transfer and to the processing of your personal information in such countries.”

In other words Camelot has the right to pass all your details to every shark, crook and privacy invader who happens to be outside of the EU. I must admit I found this amazing – they could so easily have said, “and nor will we pass your personal information…..” Me thinks this needs following up.

And on a lighter note I see Pete Burns has had his “gorilla” coat confiscated by the police from the Big Brother house. I guess if it turns out to be genuine then he deserves everything he gets thrown at him – a very public display of personal information. Maybe he should sign up to Camelot next time rather than subject himself to Big Brother?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Do you ever reach that point in life when you think you are too old for the rough and tumble of life?

Last weekend I spent some quality time clearing part of the garage. Helen dare not look in the garage because of the years of neglect it has had due to my desire to use it as a refuge for those “it might be useful one day” items. It’s been about 7 years since the car was last able to fit in it!

Amongst the finds at the weekend was a cardboard box marked “Greenbelt”. Inside were the contents of my camping requirements for the festival, allowing me to wallow in every possible luxury on site. Trouble is I have not camped at Greenbelt now for many years, opting for a life of luxury (and a guaranteed hot shower every morning) at the local hotel where I also get the pleasure of late night banter with friends. So the cardboard box has gone, with contents – and with it memories of some 20 years of camping. My first year at Greenbelt (1978) was probably the most memorable for camping as we ended up in Ipswich instead of Odell on the first night and spent the night sleeping in the ditch of an A road, the tent pitched at 45 degrees, and lorries thundering past a few feet from our heads.

But over the years as the group from Liverpool grew to over 100, so did the need to improve our lifestyle on site – one year we really did bring along a kitchen sink. Eventually Rev John D and I moved on to the In Tent but as I worked longer and longer hours (Greenbelt seems to be exempt from the 48 hour week rule) I knew the time had come to break with tradition and find a warm comfortable bed. The first year at the hotel I still brought my tent with me as I feared I would miss the late night social gatherings. In reality it just meant I got to bed very late. But I then discovered the midnight to 4am group whose ambition in life is to keep the barman up as late as possible. Sadly last year we all ended up in different hotels – although my companions Michael McDermott and Bob his business manager managed to keep the tradition going (apart from wanting to extend it to 6am!).

2006 will probably require some hard decisions from me about my future role at Greenbelt. It is harder and harder each year committing time to running venues as it depends in part on Helen’s health over the weekend. I also have new commitments – a new job which will keep me busy, and a growing interest in music management. So I will probably look at new ways I can support the festival – it’s given me so much over the last 28 years and the last 10 or so working on site has been a privilege for me – but eventually there comes a time when it is right to move on and look for new challenges and opportunities.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Video recorder working overtime at the moment capturing Liverpool's finest moments, week-in-week-out!

Busy last week up in Manchester at various meetings - still not sure if this is going to be the norm for the next few months.

Today we went to visit the crypt at St Pauls - having a late lunch amongst the dead! Seems to be an obsession these days amongst churches to have cafes in the crypt. Trying to make a connection between the two but not yet come up with a palatable answer!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

What a great game of football tonight - especially for the neutral. No doubt GB Adrian is drowning his sorrows as I type in a Luton pub, cursing the luck of scousers. I put it down to tactical skill of the manager and the ability of Spaniards to score from anywhere on the pitch!

In Manchester quite a bit next week on business so don't expect to be blogging too much unless I have some spare time at the airport - and knowing how fine I leave it to catch planes - most unlikely.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back at work –I was also in the office last week as series of meetings to prepare for. The next few months are going to be busy. Looks like I might be spending quite a bit of time in the North West over the next few months.

Aside from great football coverage, 5 Live also does some good in-depth reporting via it’s 5 Live Report. I listened to last weekend’s report on Fairtrade which raised many questions about just how “fair” products being sold under the Fairtrade label are in supermarkets. In theory it's a great scam. People feel good about buying Fairtrade products as farmer etc being paid that little bit more. But in turn the mark-up at the supermarket end is considerably higher - you can charge a lot more for a product that people feel "morally" obliged to purchase. I accept that lower production output etc will mean generally higher overheads but I will be taking a closer look at prices in the future and probably stick to purchasing from "reputable" outlets. You should be able to download the programme in a week or so from the BBC at

We have Skype up and running so if you want to contact us (via voice and video!) our account name is currently Emmoworld.

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