Lucky Col
Dance as though nobody's watching, love like it's never going to hurt

Friday, June 30, 2006

Clean sweep incorrect, let's hope so

Whenever I go in my bookies, he always picks up the phone. I would like to think that this is because he's spreading his losses to me around other establishments. But it's not. I walk in, he gets a bigger car, that's how it works.

At the start of the World Cup, along with others, I stuck my neck out and made my predictions.

On a player level, I'm pretty much spot-on. Peter Crouch did indeed score after missing loads (Trinidad & Tobago), when the going got tough Harry Kewell disappeared again and Gary Neville hasn't shut up all tournament, although thankfully that's been down to his injury which has stopped him from playing. Every cloud ......

However, ALL my team predictions have gone south, Mexico to go out early ? No, not really. Angola to get through ? Nope. Germany to go out in the second round ? No. Czech Republic to get to the semis ? No, no & no!

The only one left is the prediction that England will go out in the Quarter Finals on penalties.

Here's hoping for a clean sweep. The bookie can keep my 10 pence.

Getting the formula right for a change

Recipe for success:
  • Find an old track, the cheesier the better

  • Mix in a dance beat

  • Add an unknown wanabee soul-diva to wail over the top

  • Leave in the clubs for 3 to 4 months

and voila, a dance hit.

Usually dull & repetitive garbage making you wish you were tied up in a chair in front of Mr Blonde. It might be painful, but cutting off your ears when stuff like this comes on is usually a better option.

Except for this one:

Supermode - Tell Me Why

A re-working of Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy from the still brilliant Age of Consent album. No need for a high pitched soul-diva on the top of this one, Jimmy Sommerville's there already.

From the same people who re-mixed Hard-Fi's 'Hard to Beat' last year, it's been around on compilations and played on the more dancier radio stations for a few months now, but it gets its own release a week on Monday.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fun for children of all ages

Good to see the tram system in Nottingham has won a government award, the quicker it can be extended the better.

If we ever need to go into town, we know we can appease our 5 year old by the promise of a ride on the tram, he could quite happily sit on it all day.

For the more mature among us (and that's debatable), the good people at Nottingham Express Transit have even come up with a pub crawl using the tram. Now THAT'S what I call good customer relations.

It's getting harder now

Third Taekwondo grading on Monday night and while some of it is starting to come naturally, the requirements are getting more & more difficult.

We both passed, but both with things to work on, so there'll be more training from now on. The next grading in September will determine whether we move up to the second class or not. At that point you start full contact fighting with the Black belts *gulp*

The one thing they still don't teach you is how to sew the tags on to the end of your belt, my left thumb has more needle marks than a Maori tribal leader.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Not good enough for Forest, but perfectly acceptable for a higher division team. mmmmmmm.

Thanks Frank, good luck.

A couple of questions

  • Why does Prince Charles only pay 23% tax when he earns £14m ? I know the 40% tax rate applies at some point, I just didn't realise the limit was so high.

  • Paying rent to yourself seems like a good idea as a tax fiddle, how do I go about that ?

  • How do I claim back my 62p and get my free 1 minute of England v Portugal ?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Happy Days

I couldn't let a discussion concerning best beers go without adding my own valid contribution, so in reverse order, here goes:


Richmond (Richbrau) You wouldn't think that America would be a good place to start, being the home to such toilet water as Budweiser, Miller & Coors. Budweisers' plainly patronising adverts simply confirm they know as much about beer as they do about football, despite what they say. I once had a free afternoon at the launch of Coors in the UK, and we still left half way through to go to the nearest pub.

But in the middle of Richmond, Virginia, is a brew-pub / night-club / pool hall where decent beer is king. We had to try each and every beer on offer, and there wasn't a bad one amongst them. As we left, it started snowing. We didn't care, but we soon established that trying to flag a taxi down in the middle of the street in the good-ole-u-s-of-a is a different prospect to Market Square at chuck out time. The porter in the hotel opposite got a little bit alarmed at two English lads stumbling round reception asking for a taxi and use of their toilets.


Cruzcampo American beers, Spanish lagers, hardly the beer choice of a hardened real-ale fan. During the summer months, you need something cold, frothy yet tasty to chew on, the last being an attribute Magners could well do with thinking about. Cruzcampo, now sadly missing from the BPitW, was the summer time drink of choice during 2005, and is one of the reasons why a holiday to the Canaries looks on next year.


Timothy Taylor Landlord Ah, that's better, a proper real-ale for proper real-ale drinkers. A decent pint you can find in plenty of differing places in Nottingham.


Kimberley Classic / Olde Trip A throwback to the days of teenage drinking, 2 hour sessions on a Sunday lunch-time, free beef cobs and towels down the pool table pockets. The Beechdale, god bless you. The Best Bitter was my drink of choice as a 16/17 year old, until the Kimberley Classic came out in 1991. Nowadays, you can't get much better than a pint of Olde Trip in the courtyard outside the oldest pub in the world. Greene King's take-over might mean the end of brewing in Nottinghamshire. Shipstones & Mansfield have both gone and I was working for Scottish & Newcastle when they closed the Home Brewery. To save the Kimberley brewery, visit the campaign site here.


Pride of Romsey / Red Cuillin The BPitW isn't the BPitW for no reason. Brews its own beers, sells beers from all over world, good atmosphere, 5 minutes walk from my house (15 on the way back), a beer-garden & authentic Thai food make it a fantastic place. Their shop next door selling bottled real-ales & lagers from their own brewery and again from all over the world makes it quite easily the BPitW. The Pride of Romsey is probably the best one I've had from there, whereas the Red Cuillin reminds me of the Aberdeen beer festival. Exactly the same as the Nottingham beer festival but with pint glasses. And in Aberdeen.


Brush Bitter The best beer from the BPitW. Sit down, try one of each, talk a lot, go home. A fantastic evenings entertainment.

And no 1

Deuchars IPA When I lived in Scotland, this was my regular drink in my local pub, the Red Lion, Fochabers. You can't beat being able to walk into a pub and the bar-staff pouring your pint before you've even sat down & ordered. Scottish drinking laws also forbid you having an empty glass, so as you get to about 2/3 of the way down ,they start pouring you another one. Superb. Plenty of places down south sell it and it always reminds me of Scotland. Shame you can't get the deep fried Haggis supper here as well.

not so good

With all good things come those that simply don't compare, the Sonny to Cher, the Little to Large, Phil to Gary (and Gary too, if we're honest).

I never liked Boddingtons, but their ad campaign spawned dozens of chemically created, headache inducing wanabees of beer hell. If your beer hasn't got a decent head on it, you're either in London (in which case c**p beer is the least of your worries) or the beer hasn't been properly looked after. That doesn't mean adding a 'widget' to pump s**t into beer to create a head. Caffrey's was an attempt to jump on the back of this AND the Oirish band wagon common in pub redevelopments at the time. Show me the pub in Ireland where people really park their bikes on the ceiling and I'll take it all back. (I'm going to look a fool if this is actually common place when I go in two weeks, although I'm not overly concerned).

Following on from this are any beers with the words 'smooth' or 'cold' in the title. The colder something is, the less you can tell that actually it tastes like cat's p**s. And how smooth exactly do you want a drink made predominantly out of water to be ?

The final word has to go to Magners cider, a fine piece of advertising and a fantastic angle, getting pubs to serve your drink with ice in the summer. Genius. With Guinness you've got the 'Theatre of the Pour', with bar-staff having to take lessons to learn how to pour it properly. With Magners you look like an expert because you're drinking it over ice. Rubbish, you look like a sap who would cut off one of your own legs if told to by television.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ear candy

Some good stuff around again at the moment.

Jamie T - Sheila

The Automatic - Not accepted Anywhere
One of those times when you buy an album on the back of a couple of good tracks and find out that there are two or three more you've heard before and didn't realise it was from the same band.

Muse - Black Holes & Revelations
God bless the internet!

Get away !

Big Brother ?

Fixed ?

Do you reckon ?

What do they stand to gain ?

A valuable social experiment coupled with entertainment ?

It's not purely there so Channel 4 make millions from viewers phone calls, is it ?

Everyday is a happy day ....

.... if you're employed to work this kind of stuff out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Rant #2

England get through to the knock-out stages of the World Cup with their best group record for 24 years. They top the group, therefore avoiding Germany in the next round and having a theoretically easier journey to the final.

Job done.

Or is it ?

Am I dreaming this situation, or did we actually get knocked out last night ? Looking at the news, the TV, the papers, you'd be led to believe England are rubbish and should pack their bags now. Good first half, poor second half seems to sum up most reports.

Typical English media. Funnily enough, there were 2 teams out there last night, both needing something to guarantee progression. Is it too much to admit that the Swedes might have had the proverbial boot up the a**e at half-time and came out in the second half playing better.

Or it could have been down to England playing with 10 men for the final 89 minutes.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The dug's baws

If Spain v Tunisia is just that one game too far, one of the better TV programs returns tonight.

BBC 2, 9pm, Still Game


House extension required

If you're going to get bad service off the internet, it rekindles your hope in mankind when the company concerned makes up for it after.

But quite what I'm going to do with EIGHTEEN boxes of Nambarrie t-bags is beyond me.

Three lions on your shirt - two lions in our square

Fantastic piece of merchandise, order from here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rail signallers, they're not stupid either, just not very original

From the BBC:

Thousands of rail signallers will stage two one-day strikes in a dispute over pay, threatening chaos on the network.

A strike, when England are playing, who'd have thought it.

Computer says no

It's not easy working in a call centre, cooped up all day, callers slagging you off for personally causing them inconvenience, having to make sales to top up a meagre salary. No, working in a call centre is a hard hard job.

Still, that's no excuse for turning into a simpleton.

I call Orange, which was Wanadoo, which was Freeserve 9 years ago when I started with them, to ask why my broadband was no longer working. A very polite man tells me that my account has been deactivated and what I need to do is ring back, plus which options to choose to get me straight through. His accent and the slight time-delay lead me to believe he's based in India. His complete politeness and desire to make sure that, not only has he understood my problem, but has also solved it to the best of his ability, confirm his location.

I then call Orange back, choose the necessary options and get through to someone with no time-delay, a Geordie accent and absolutely no idea what politeness could mean, let alone how to execute such a concept. They must be based here.

My account was disabled in December, apparently, which is news to me since I was using it only last week. This, of course, means nothing to the Little Britain impersonator on the other end of the line, because it says on her SCREEN that it was disabled last December meaning I couldn't possibly have been using it last week. I then ask if I can reopen my account, which naturally I can't as the account has been de-activated, silly me. The next option is to set up a new account, but no, can't do that either because it says on her SCREEN that my phone line is faulty. This is the same phone line I'm calling on and was happily using broadband on up until only last week. When I explain this, I'm told to ring BT because it says on her SCREEN that the line is faulty. When I ask why it was deactivated, I'm told that it's been too long and that information isn't on the SCREEN any more. But I was using it only last …… oh, never mind.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The futures bright, the futures definitely NOT Orange

I've been asked to communicate who gets evicted from the Big Brother house tonight. This won't be happening for two reasons:

1, I really don't care
2, That would mean missing Poland v Ecuador

The World Cup is here. Hurray.

As is traditional at this time, I will make the following predictions. Please feel free to ridicule them as you see fit:

  • The Czech Republic will get to (at least) the Semi-Finals, although not because of their kit. Well worth an each-way bet

  • Angola will beat Portugal and therefore get through to the second round, making them the African side to get the furthest

  • England will get to the Quarter Finals, after which it's pot luck who will beat us on penalties

  • Mexico will go out fairly early, contrary to a lot of pundits thinking

  • Germany will easily win their group but go out in the second round

  • Peter Crouch will score the winner in one of the group games and be proclaimed a hero, despite missing the target with his other 8 chances of the game

  • Gary Neville will continue to bang on about HIS metatarsal injury in 2002 without the slightest sense of irony. I can't remember anybody in 2002 saying "Oh dear, with Gary Neville out we've got no chance". Rooney is world class, YOU WEREN'T MISSED YOU MUPPET

  • Wayne Rooney will be targeted by the German / Poland hatchet man in the first five minutes and play no further part in the competition. Still better than having Jermaine Defoe in the squad, though

  • If Australia get into the second round, expect Harry Kewell to go off injured wihin 15 minutes, but still expect plaudits for his limited contribution

  • Shed Boy will extol the virtues of watching the football in Blackburn, but then refuse point blank any attempt to take us to Blackburn at any time

  • Woody will claim that Michael Owen is actually Welsh

  • Woody will then refute claims that Ryan Giggs is, in fact, English

  • I'll point to a player and say "He used to play for Forest" before sobbing in a corner at our current predicament

  • John Motson will state that one of the Ghanaian strikers once had a trial at Brentford

  • Ten minutes later, Goldfish boy will state that one of the Ghanaian strikers once had a trial at Brentford, but won't be able to recall where he knows that from

  • Nixey will predict the winners of the World Cup

  • The team Nixey predicts to win the World Cup will suprisingly get knocked out in the first round. Surprising to all except those of us who know Nixey

Unfortunately for McGaribaldi, Nixey has predicted a Holland victory. Expect them home on June 22.

You should always keep in touch with your friends

Superb, fantastic, brilliant etc etc etc

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bus drivers, they're not stupid are they ?

Nottingham City bus drivers have been on strike for the last two Saturdays over pay. Nothing too remarkable about that. In fact town was a fantastic place to be last Saturday, hardly a soul about.

The Unions and bosses have met again this week, but have failed to come to an agreement. The offer hasn't been made public.

So, the bus drivers are on strike again this Saturday.

What's happening Saturday afternoon, mmmmmm ?

I bet there won't be as many picketing this week as last, the next strike day is June 24 and this mystery deal will be accepted as soon as Mr Crouch skys his next penalty in the Quarter Finals ?

Miserable b*****d alert

With the World Cup less than 1 day away, the first nomination for the "Miserable B*****d of the Summer" award goes to the deputy chief constable of North Wales Police, for this.

You know you're getting old when ....

.... you agree with something said by the leader of the Tory party.

David 'no bandwagon untouched' Cameron has publicly come out against Gangster Rap.

Fortunately, I can still cling on to the coat tails of the young at heart as, while I agree with the point, not for the reasons he believes.

I agree that listening to Gangster Rap encourages knife & gun crime.

Certainly, any time I hear some, it makes me want to pick up something heavy & sharp to use against the talentless nobody who made it.

Do you think that's what he meant ?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Unfortunately not

Wouldn't it be great if this was the greatest summer record ever made:

Unfortunately, it's not.

The best summer record ever made, without doubt, is this.

Sorry, it does pain me to say it, but deep down, you know it's true.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Look, there's a castle

From the Telegraph:

The goldfish might have a reputation for having a three-second memory, but scientists are realising that fish are much smarter than most of us give them credit for.


Fish don't have the brain hardware for pain.

Well, that explains the scar on the forehead, then.

Monday, June 05, 2006

World Cup Rant #1

There's one thing that the Scottish part of my family and I agree on.

As Chris says, Alan Hansen is a fudd.

They don't like him up there because of his clear leanings towards the English at international level, while I don't like him for his ability to talk for hours on end without adding any understanding to my viewing of proceedings. When I see the right winger skip past the left-back and pull it back perfectly for the on-rushing midfielder, I want to know about the tactical decisions made at coaching level that resulted in such a fine piece of football, insights that an ex-player might be able to impart, rather than just watching a replay and have some Captain Scarlet villain describe exactly what I can clearly see for myself.

Ian Wright talks some jingoistic nonsense, but at least he gives you an insight into what the players are feeling.

However, there's one sentence which you can guarantee will be said by these same football experts over the next five weeks, which really gets my proverbial goat.

"Penalties, you can't really practice them, can you Gary."

Yes! Yes you can!

It's probably the easiest thing in football to practice. Put the ball down on the spot and put it in, it's not hard. Repeat this two or three hundred times, so that when the potential opportunity arises, you know with 100% surety that you are going to at least hit the target. Practice well enough, and no goal-keeper in the world can stop them.

"You can't replicate the pressure"

True, but at least you can take some of the pressure off by knowing you've practiced & practiced & practiced. The fact that it is a World Cup match in front of 80,000 spectators and millions on the TV adds a certain sense of occasion, but no more that it had for the previous three hours the players have been in the stadium. They don't suddenly let people in towards the end of the game, they've been there for the previous 120 minutes playing time. If the players are such gibbering wrecks that they are incapable of hitting a target of 192 square feet from 12 yards, they really shouldn't be there in the first place. They all play in front of thousands week in week out, they're hardly amateurs.

Ask any of the England squad what their golf handicap is, and I'll bet the majority will reply in single figures. Admittedly, some can't count past 9, but most of the others practice golf to such an extent that they'd figure well in a pro-am tournament. A pointless waste of time, unless FIFA are thinking about replacing the penalty shoot-out with the ten-yard bucket challenge to decide drawn games.

There's a very good reason why airline pilots practice for hours on simulators. You wouldn't want to be sat on a plane and be told the pilot has never practiced landing at Heathrow in bad weather with an engine on fire before because he couldn't replicate the pressure of having 400 passengers sat behind him.

If you crash & burn before reaching your intended destination, blame the pilot.

The penalties in 1998 (Argentina) were an embarrassment, two of the players openly admitting they'd NEVER taken a penalty before. Funnily enough, they both missed.

Compare that to the semi-final of the same year, Brazil v Holland. The Dutch struggling to keep theirs on target while the Brazilians were more concerned over which part of the body they would be using to put them in with. I'm sure I saw at least two of them blind-folding each other for a laugh before sticking them in the top corner, just because they could.

It's been 10 years since the last penalty shoot out success against Spain (with THAT Pearce penalty). England are due a touch of luck, but as Gary Player once said; "The more I practice, the luckier I get"

Old Style Weekend

All sorts of things happen when you have kids:

  • Grey hairs appear almost overnight

  • The chance of getting the bathroom to yourself reduce to zero

  • Sitting outside a pub all day becomes a thing of the past

So, with the kids at their grandparents, it was with great pleasure that an afternoon of sitting outside pubs was planned for Friday, as it turned out the hottest day of the year so far.

A quick one in Fellow's followed by an entire session sat by the canal outside the Canalhouse.

The Canalhouse is a fantastic pub, real ale, good food and a fantastic place to chill out when the weathers good. There can't be that many pubs that have a canal running through the middle where you have to cross a bridge to get to the bar.

A brief sojourn back to reality on Saturday morning, before continuing the weekend in an old stylee, the Slug & Lettuce (which certainly isn't one of the best pubs in Nottingham) & Fat Cats both swapping beer for cash.

Chinese rice beer in the Flaming Dragon before finishing off the day in the beer garden of the BPitW.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Never Trust a Hippy: Priorities

Who to support in the World Cup ? Being English and living back in England the choice isn't too hard for me. The difficult choice this summer is whether to have 2 flags on my car, or the slightly less subtle 4 arrangement.

For my Irish friends, FIFA's enforcement of the rules have hit the Republic hard. They are now struggling with the rule that says your players need to be ever so slightly associated with the country they eventually turn out for. That's not really fair, is it Mr Cascarino ?

I did my stint of living 'abroad'. 18 months at the top of Scotland taught me to stand up and be counted when England are playing, but then happily accept the ribbing when Scotland come out on top.

A recent poll run by the Press & Journal website shows the level of support England can expect in the North East of Scotland over the next 5 weeks, nearly 60% saying they would rather support anyone else than England. A couple of the Trinidad & Tobago players ply their trade north of the border, so now there is a national shortage of Trinidad shirts as thousands of pasty faced jocks wander round trying to look like they're from the Caribbean. Most Scots get sunburn looking at holiday brochures. Tanning salons in Aberdeen involve standing in front of your mate holding a torch.

Paulie has his own suggestions on who to support in the world cup if your country of birth isn't represented, teams with ex-forest players or those with good kits seem to be high on the list. With no Republic of Ireland to support, it must be hard to accept supporting England especially, as he says, with an "antiseptic" manager.

But then if I'd been with Ulrika Johnson, I'd be bathing in Dettol as well.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

May as well stop now

The FA Cup final this year should have been held at the new Wembley, but at the last minute was switched back to Cardiff.

Now, apparently, NEXT years final could be at risk.

"For us the most important thing is not to hit a particular date," Wembley National Stadium Limited chairman Michael Cunnah told Five Live Sport.

Well, you're doing a fantastic job of not hitting ANY date.

The new stadium, as it stands now, has bits falling off it, costs far too much and has dodgy drainage.

Which begs the question, how is it any different to the OLD Wemabley stadium ?