Thursday, March 30, 2006

Well Tuesday evening was fun - I think not. Verdict of office trip to Prison Clink was a thumbs down all round. I then missed the free bar afterwards so not a good night!

To make up for this I made a pit-stop trip to Notting Hill last night to Alan McGee's Death Disco Club night where Hey Gravity! was making a guest appearance and I was on the guest list. I'm getting pretty good now at nipping out at night and still being home before midnight.

As usual an excellent performance and whilst the crowd were a bit static it was noticeable how most of those at the club were glued to watching the band. At the end of the gig the place seemed to empty pretty quick suggesting quite a lot there had come to see them play. At the moment the band seems to be averaging about 1 gig a week in London and are slowly building up a core set of fans.

On a more bizarre note the new single (out in April) Inside won single of the week on Talksport's unsigned band contest last week and are back again this week to see if they can retain their title! The show goes out in the middle of the night but has a bit of a cult status.

Elsewhere the single has been getting advance plays up and down the country at clubs & universities. Being ignorant I hadn't thought of it as a dance record but after reading all the positive feedback from clubs I had to go and re-listen to it to see why it has been so popular. Hopefully a full dance re-mix version will be done by Justine's mates at Atomic Hooligan if it starts to take off.

Got invited to see Andrew's other band Misty's Big Adventure tonight but 2 consecutive nights out for someone of my age is a bit too much!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

And the main breaking news - Liverpool has pulled out of the Senior Cup - due to play my (former) local team Marine in the semi-final. The problem being that Liverpool's youth team is in the final of the FA Youth Cup. Just as well as I would have found myself cheering on Marine on this occassion.

Today's trip to London Dungeons cancelled - all sorts of rumours flying around as to why. Instead we are off to the London Clink - basically the Bishop of Winchester's prison where all the naughtly sinners were kept. This could be a new angle for the CoE - having sponsored prisons as they do schools - or is that what the Mother's Union is about?

Statistics seem to show that Phil Neville's well struck header on Saturday is just one in a catalogue of own goals scored by Everton in derby matches. Here's a list of some of the most memorable own goals against Liverpool.

1. Sandy Brown (Everton)
At Goodison ParkFootball League Division OneDecember 1969
Poor old Sandy etched his name indelibly into Mersey derby folklore with this stunning headed effort from a Peter Thompson cross into an unguarded Park End goal. So much so that every 'oggy' scored on the parks of Merseyside since has been referred to as a "Sandy Brown"!

2. Gary Sprake (Leeds United)
At AnfieldFootball League Division OneDecember 1967
On an icy Anfield afternoon Leeds' Welsh international goalie earned himself cult-status on the Kop with one of the most unusual own-goals ever scored as his attempted throw out to Terry Cooper somehow ends up in the back of the net. Cue the hit record of the time 'Careless Hands' to ring out over the tannoy system at half-time.

3. Delfin Geli (Alaves)
At the WestfalenstadionUEFA Cup Final May 2001
The most dramatic UEFA Cup Final of all-time deep into extra-time with Liverpool and Alaves tied at 4-4 when Gary McAllister swung a teasing free-kick into the heart of the opposition penalty box. To every Liverpudlian's delight Geli rose highest and deflected the ball into his own net, handing the treble chasing Reds the Cup on courtesy of the 'Golden Goal' rule.

4. Mick Lyons (Everton)
At AnfieldFootball League Division OneOctober 1979
The Blues skipper could only look on in anguish as his attempted back-pass from 40-yards sailed spectacularly over the head of goalkeeper George Woods to give the Reds an unexpected derby lead after just nine minutes.

5. Phil Neville (Everton)
At AnfieldPremiershipMarch 2006
Half-time was approaching in the 203rd Mersey derby when Neville gifted 10-man Liverpool an unexpected lead. Alonso took a corner from the right and the former Man United man, to his horror, glanced a near post header into his own net with a clinical finish that a centre-forward would have been proud of.

6. John Bailey (Everton)
At AnfieldFootball League Division OneMarch 1981
There was little to separate the Reds and Blues in this tense Mersey derby until the home side won a 77th minute corner in front of the Anfield Road. Jimmy Case centered from the right and his fiercely struck set-piece was deflected past Jim Arnold by the bouncing perm of a distraught John Bailey.

7. Brian Laws (Nottingham Forest)
At Old TraffordFA Cup semi-final May 1989
Liverpool were leading Forest 2-1 when Laws rubber-stamped the Reds ticket to Wembley in front of the Stretford End. Beardsley drilled a low centre towards the edge of the six-yard box and the unfortunate full-back sliced the ball past a helpless Steve Sutton.

8. Mark Atkins (Blackburn Rovers)
At Ewood ParkFA Cup 3rd roundJanuary 1991
With the scoreboard clock showing that the regulation 90-minutes had been played, Second Division Rovers were on the verge of a major cup shock until a throw-in down the right caused confusion in the box and amid the resultant melee Atkins managed to dramatically level the score with a deflection past his own keeper.

9. Rio Ferdinand (Leeds United)
At Elland RoadPremiershipFebruary 2002
Liverpool and Leeds were vying for the mantle of title challengers when reckless Rio made a complete hash of an attempted clearance from a Danny Murphy free-kick and turned the ball home after only 15-minutes at Elland Road. It was to kick-start an impressive 4-0 Reds rout.

10. Steve Bruce (Man United)
At AnfieldPremiershipMarch 1995
Steve Bruce may have suffered his fair share of misery of late against the Reds but as this OG proves he didn't have it much better as a player. Steve McManaman's trickery bamboozled the United defence on the edge of the box and his goalward bound shot was deflected past Schmeichel off the leg of the current Brum boss, the first in a 2-0 Liverpool win.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Even with 10 men still able to win with degree of comfort in the end. Good job Gerrard not on the pitch for one of his back passes!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Phew - just scraped throught to the FA Cup semi-final last night - for the first 51 seconds I was getting worried!

In all the excitement I forgot to record 2nd programme on life of Harold Wilson. Still trying to get my head round last week's revelations. I need to get a job in the Cabinet Office to see if the rumours are true - high ranking officials attempting to stage a coup for fear that the Labour government was a bit too chummy with the unions. If true (and it all seemed very plausible) then it raises potential further questions such as whether Lord Mountbatton was really killed by the IRA or was it ultimately MI5 behind the assination as part their attempts to ensure no one could ever publicly say what really happened when the troups suddenly took control of airports etc. Fascinating stuff - the files will be classified as Top Secret so unlikely to see daylight for at least 100 years. And no doubt this blog will be picked up somewhere within the intelligence circles as they run a sweep of articles with key words in. Suffice to say I've already signed the Official Secret's Act so all you'll get from me is speculation, not facts!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Everyone seems to be blogging about war & Iraq at the moment. There should be a way of linking computers up (as they do for UFO spotting etc) so that this message can somehow be spread more widely and powerfully than it is now. I follow the situation in Iraq very closely, not least because my brother is there and I care about him and his colleagues. The idea of being stuck in a compound for a few months at a time, not able to go anywhere except under heavy escort must seem pretty demoralising for journalists. When Peter first started going to Iraq several years ago it was a completely different story able to visit some of the most ancient sites in the world and stroll freely around the market stalls etc. Even when he was imbedded in Baghdad watching cruise missiles fly past the hotel he had more freedom.

But freedom is a word missing now from Iraq's vocabulary. The promises of freedom by Bush & Blair have evaporated and Iraqi citizens have become prisoners in their own country, afraid to go out as the risk of kidnapping and suicide bombers grows in its ascendency. The only freedom that now exists is one that breeds anarchy, a distrust for the invader, the government, and one's neighbour. Saddam Hussein no longer holds any power over Iraq, but he must go back to his cell each night with a big smile on his face, knowing that what he started, the combined forces of Britain and America have managed to exacerbate - a country now divided, fueled by religious hatred and mistrust of those who claimed to offer peace.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So how do you start your day? Most days at the office start with porridge and apple juice for me - surprisingly healthy! But on a bad day it's a trip downstairs to get a dreaded double egg and sausage McMuffin - followed by lots of complaints about the smell in the office! Today though is a porridge day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So it's official then - well probably not but Pip mentioned it in his blog so that's good enough for me - Daniel Bedingfield is playing Greenbelt this year. There are a few other big names lined up but I'm sworn to secrecy - so keep watching

Off to meet up with Andrew - Hey Gravity's manager - at the New Picadilly Cafe (has Pip got shares in this place?) this lunchtime. Chance to catch up on the events of the last few weeks and a discussion about future plans. I approached the band about playing Greenbelt and looks like they have said yes which is good news. Now all I have to do is sweet talk the music group.....

I see Jude went to Cheltenham on Tuesday to the races. Must admit I'm tempted to go everyday when I arrive for work. Being based in Paddington Station I arrive to find the Irish on mass waiting to catch one of our racecourse special trains - no doubt being offered the finest food and champagne on the journey that money can buy. Now how about a Greenbelt Special train in August - all I need is about 800 people wanting to travel. Before joining my company last year they offered me a free bus service for the festival (not sure if this was their way of trying to persuade me to join!). Unfortunately they don't have any buses in Cheltenham so turned out to be a non-starter - but the tought was there! Now if the festival moved to Manchester.....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When I jouined my employers last November I think there were about 3 of us involved on current project. Now we are a team of 50 plus so someone's decided it's time for a bit of team building - the location - the London dungeons - bizarre!

Desperate for some free time at present so will have to start taking some holiday over next couple of weeks so that I can catch up on my "to do" list.

Friday, March 10, 2006

News a bit thin on the ground at present & I seem to be very busy with various projects. Sadly Liverpool's goal drought continued on Wednesday, but to be honest, I'm still on a high from last May so hard to be too despondent. I guess the strikers are just saving themselves for the derby game at the end of the month. I had a ticket for this game but work & other commitments make it impossible to get there. I offered it to my brother but he declined (probably just as well as his track record of watching Liverpool play and win is a bit thin on the ground - although I think he came with me to the 1986 cup final to see Liverpool clinch the double with a 3-1 victory over Everton) as he has just gone back to Baghdad for a few weeks - rather him than me.

Speaking of Baghdad, I've finally found time to read Rageh Omaar's excellent Revolution Day. Unlike so many other commentators, Rageh is someone who has lived & worked in Baghdad over a number of years for the BBC and gives a very clear picture of what the impact of the pending Iraqi war and aftermath has meant for the Iraqi people. The book is devoid of political bias and is just an honest& frank account of what the situation was actually like. He would be a great speaker for Greenbelt and I've asked my brother in the past he he could invite him, but these days (post Iraq war fame I guess) Rageh is usually half way around the world & I think currently has his home in South Africa. Not sure if he'll be at my brother's wedding - I'm planning to take a pile of books to the reception so that I can get them all signed!

One of my bargain buys in the Christmas sales was a Hewlett Packard 8250 printer - I got it half price at PC World. This was a complete shock as I've usually found PC World the last place to go for bargains. Anyway, it has been great for printing out photos etc. A word of caution though - if you get a paper jam, clear it straight away - don't come back later to do it. The print head arrangement means that you risk a paper jam leaving the paper in contact with them. Result is a set of 6 ink cartridges that discharge their (very expensive) ink onto the paper.

My other mishap of the last week was a delightful trip over to Greenwich Park on Sunday. It's been a while since we made it to the top of the park so was nice to get back. Problem was the last time we made the trip parking was free. Despite numerous car park pay signs we failed to notice them - too busy enjoying a cold but sunny spring day. Result was a £50 ticket - ouch. Helen & I have an agreement though that if either of us ever get a ticket that we will just put it down to experience - so next time we will buy a ticket first.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Forgot to mention in yesterday's blog the 2 excellent albums that arrived in the post last week. Both sent by Michael McDermott - the first was Juliet Turner's excellent live album which she had signed when he was touring with her, and the second is the equally excellent new Michael McDermott album. He sent me a number of promotional copies to review and send out to the great and the good. Trouble is there is a big list of these people so I'm busy getting further copies run off. No public details about the album released yet so cannot blog about songs or even title at this stage in case anyone from the States happens to be reading this. What I can say is that it is very different from the version originally recorded last summer. The trip to Ireland has clearly had a big impact on Michael in terms of song styles. What I also noticed is a move away from alcohol related issues and more focussed on lost love - think this is probably a positive move in Michael's life - although the women involved might not think so!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Well I said I would be quiet for a while – and I was!

Work is hotting up as we get stuck into bid process. It’s going to be a long 4 months ahead.

I managed to nip out last night for my 3rd gig in 2 weeks – probably a record for me (aside from NY) in recent years. I’ve discovered I can drive to north London in about half an hour so suddenly venues I have ignored are becoming a reality again as I can still be home by 11pm. Last night it was the Garage Upstairs in Highbury. Hey Gravity! had been invited as late support replacements for Hicks Milligan-Prophecy. The performance last night from Justine and the band was on another level compared to just over a week ago. Clearly more relaxed as a band – the whole look and feel to their show was outstanding and I’ve seen some fairly good bands in my time. Majority of the crowd had never heard of them before last night but they left with Hey Gravity! engraved on their brains. Justine, sporting a new ginger red hair style played with the crowd, dive bombing into the audience whilst continuing to sing at full pelt. The front of the stage was in full dance mode, which is not an easy thing to achieve on a cold Wednesday night. Such was the intensity of the performance that it would have probably looked more at home on the main stage at Glastonbury, rather than a 200 capacity venue in north London. Next step seems to be putting out limited edition single plus several gigs here and in France. They are also in with a shout to support the Paddingtons for a one-off gig planned on the Thames. They’ve been short-listed in a competition for unsigned bands –the public to vote for eventual winners.

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