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

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not 'Lion' about

A belated birthday night out in the spiritual home of birthday celebrations, The Lion in Basford, for the third annual "drink the menu" challenge. 10 real ales, none of your gassy mass-produced rubbish, all in one of the best pubs in Nottingham. Music provided by a very acceptable Paul Weller tribute band.

The Bateman's XXXB was the best of the bunch, with the Harviestown Haggis Hunter a disappointment after a good showing at the Aberdeen Beer Festival a couple of years back.

The boxer short story got a good re-telling, complete with extra embellishments, while we also had a demonstration of Woody's psychic powers. It's a shame that the bar-staff's juggling skills didn't match, and all over my new shoes as well. Never mind.

And NET, the tram company in Nottingham, are also looking for the person who put a big dent in one of their tram stops, CCTV footage will be used !!!!!

Chelsea 3:0 Invisible Men

The Forest Chelsea game was moved to a 2 o'clock kick-off to accommodate the BBC, but unfortunately, no-one thought to tell the Forest players of the earlier start, who all played as though they were warming up for 45 minutes before kicking off properly at 3. I can imagine them all coming out again at 4 to kick off their second half to a half empty pitch and completely empty stands.

And they still wouldn't have scored.

When the highlight of the game is your left-back following through on a Ukrainian misfit, you know things are bad.

At least now we can concentrate on blowing promotion.


Women reading this may want to cross their legs.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Boys of Summer

"Back in the summer of '69" I was only a few months old, but in the summer of 2002 I was a strapping lad of 33.

My football career never really took off, not for the lack of offers, it's just that I never fancied giving up the social aspect of following Forest on a Saturday afternoon and my lie-in on a Sunday morning. So works 5-a-side football was my limit.

In the summer of '69, sorry, 2002, our work had an 11 a side summer league and the annual 5-a-side tournament. Our department had a number of good players, and we fancied our chances in both. The full size league was won early on, with an impressive 8-0 victory in our opening game in which, as the goalkeeper, I didn't touch the ball once in open play. I did 'touch' their centre forward though, sufficiently for him to miss the rest of the tournament. Whoops.

The 5-a-side tournament was more competitive. We played 10 games in total, and we only conceded 4 goals, 2 of which were penalties. However, we got truly hammered in the semi-final, the opposition's free-flowing football blitzing our tiring defence. It's fair to say I had my best game of the day, keeping out everything. We scored late on to steal it 1-0. The opposition weren't happy, but graciously accepted defeat. The team we beat in the final had a man sent off early doors and were duly dispatched 3-1. They weren't happy either and didn't accept defeat graciously at all, demanding a rematch, despite the fact that not only had we beat them in the final, but also in the first game of the group stages. They didn't like the fact that, while they all had the same kit, we had turned up in a motley collection of white, cream & yellow.

This is still my one and only football medal. It won't be seen any time soon at Sotheby's, but it means something to me.

In October 2002, we were moving to Scotland, so this seemed like the ideal time to announce my retirement, go out on a high. I didn't watch Sky Sports News that day, so can only assume it was their top story. Sven must have been gutted.

Fast forward to last night, 2007. My kit safely recovered from the loft and a Rocky Balboa-esque return to top flight works 5-a-side action.

10 minutes in, my right leg wants to go one way, while my body is twisting and falling the other. All my weight goes down onto my twisting right ankle & knee before pain takes over. Ouch.

This morning I can't walk, my right ankle has swollen to the size of Jade Goody's mouth, while my ability to walk has reduced to the size of Jade Goody's brain. Both my knees seem to be trying to escape my body in fear and my left hand refuses to straighten past a fairly useless 90 degrees.

In short, I'm getting too old for all this.

Panic !!!!!

Quick, get down the supermarket and stock up on soup & bread. Make sure you've got some long life milk in the cupboard. Try to put on enough clothes to make movement impossible.

Why ?

An inch of snow has fallen !!!!

It's the end of the world !!!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"It's a lot better to hope than not to"

I can't remember the last time I looked forward to a game so much as I'm now looking forward to Chelsea v Forest on Sunday. Strange, really, when my head tells me we'll be lucky if Chelsea keep it down to an English opening bat score.

But my heart tells me different stories. My heart watched Chelsea struggle against Wycombe. My heart saw them not turn up at Anfield. My heart has us hanging on desperately for a draw and to nick it deep into injury time.

I've no idea what any of my other organs feel about the subject.

But Chelsea weren't always the money-rich, steamroller of English football. Oh no.

Back in 1988, I was living in South East London and stuck for something to do on a Saturday, three of us decided to travel with local Charlton fans to their do or die last match of the season showdown with fellow relegation strugglers Chelsea. Whoever lost went down, a draw and Chelsea would be unlucky.

As the three of us travelled by tube to the game, we became aware that one of us wasn't saying much, the scouser of the trio had chosen, probably wisely, to keep his accent to himself in a tube train full of Londoners. Us other two could pull off the lazy English language murdering drawl of the capital, so talked away at length about subjects we knew the Mickey felt strongly about, but couldn't comment. Shame.

Into the away end for added protection, it became very clear how big a s**t hole the old Stamford Bridge was. Lumps of concrete flying in both directions pulled directly from under the feet of the spectators.

The match itself was awful, the ball only touched the floor twice, and both times it was the ball coming off the back of the net. I can't remember who scored first, but I can remember Chelsea scoring. A mass of celebrating arms waved around directly in front of us, a bit strange as we had deliberately chosen the away end for the protection of Metropolitan's Police finest. Nicely placed in the middle of the away end were roughly 100 Chelsea fans intent on beating the c**p out of anything with a pulse. Great, I thought, I'm going to get (at that time) my second slapping at football, and it's not even supporting my own team.

The game finished 1:1 so Chelsea were relegated. Unimaginable at the moment but give it another couple of years and it could be Chelsea "living the dream" in the bottom three of the Championship.

My heart tells me their demise starts on Sunday.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My two pence worth

In 2000, Channel 4 announced a new television series, Big Brother. Not knowing what the public reaction would be, they built a temporary studio and a temporary house and put in 10 random people. As a TV experiment, it was the first of its kind. What would happen ? How would complete strangers react to being locked up 24 hours a day with no contact with the outside world ? How would the dynamics of the show change when contestants were voted out on a regular basis leaving one overall winner ? How much money could they fleece from gullable viewers intent on throwing their hard earned cash down the drain ?

As it happened, the people got on quite well. And people getting on well in an enclosed environment is dull and makes viewers switch off. And a program with reducing viewing figures is a program with reducing advertising revenue.

So much so that by series 4, Channel 4 decided to get nasty. If the exhibits weren't going to provide the necessary car-crash TV required for extra viewers, Channel 4 were going to step in. There's no point in a zoo introducing big cats and letting them lie down all day, sooner or later the paying punters are going to want action.

Food is now used as both punishment and reward, basic hygiene is dispensed with and the inmates are forced to endure meaningless repetitive tasks. In short, the exhibits are being prodded to produce the TV Channel 4 need to keep the viewing figures high and the advertising revenue maximised.

However, there is a down-side to this. If you wind up a big cat for long enough, sooner or later it will take your hand off.

Normally mild-mannered celebrities unravel mentally before your very eyes. Previously released housemates are re-introduced to deliberately inject tension leading to Police intervention.

It's only a short step from there to the events of last week.

Any closed environment such as the Big Brother house is going to breed bullying. A group of strangers is always going to produce cliques and gangs, and a group of chain-smoking mentally challenged Essex girls is as good a group as any. Picking on the celebrity who can't work the oven seems a little prime-evil, but when arguments start over the usage of stock cubes, you know that the Channel 4 food tactic has come home to roost.

Were the arguments racist ? Not for me to say. If the victim feels the comments were racist, then the authorities are duty bound to investigate. When the victim changes her mind, is she just doing it because she wants piece and harmony in her enclosed environment ? Will she feel the same when the full coverage is made available to her, and not just the bits originally within earshot ?

How many times in the canteen, or in the pub, do you overhear the immortal "I'm not being racist, but ....." knowing full well that the rest of the sentence couldn't possibly be misconstrued as anything other than racist. Just by saying something isn't, doesn't make it so.

But who are the real villains here ? Three thick talent less in-bred bigots ?

Or the manipulative television executives editing output so as to maximise publicity, maximise viewing figures and increase advertising monies.

Without hope men are only half alive

Monday, January 15, 2007

If it's good enough, make it longer

Search the internet for your favourite current song and chances are you'll find 20 different remixes, a dub mix, a dance remix, a Russian polka mix, allsorts.

Back in the day, while the internet was still the preserve of university geeks too lazy to see if their coffee pot was empty, the remix was limited to your 12" version of the 7" single.

Some bands simply added a couple of filler tracks to the 12", tracks which otherwise wouldn't, and in some cases, shouldn't, have seen the light of day.

However, the standard for bands in the 80's was to release an extended mix. A three minute pop single could be doubled in length just by adding a bit of drum machine to the intro, a little extra to the musical interlude and trailing back into the beat for extra minute at the end.


And I loved every single one.

There have already been three of this particular collection, 1 2 3 and the fourth gets a release today. If you can't find half a dozen tracks on here that doesn't make you remember school discos, first kisses and home taping, then you must have spent the 80's with our head in a bucket of sand.

Superb stuff.

Forest 1:0 Yeovil

In the car on the way to the game on Saturday, Radio Nottingham's Colin Fray & John McGovern both agreed that it didn't matter how ugly the football was, the most important thing was to win the three points.

And boy was it ugly.

Still employing the simple yet effective 4-4-2 formation (it's the future, why has no-one thought of this before!), Forest again decided to dispense with midfield and hoof aimless balls into the swirling wind at every opportunity. Yeovil, on the other hand, chose to pass the ball on the floor and subsequently enjoyed the vast majority of the possession for the first twenty minutes. Had they opted to pass forwards at any time in that twenty minutes, Forest would have been threatened but sideways never made for any significant chances.

Three minutes into the second half, and a long free-kick into the area was dropped by the Yeovil keeper and Grant "bigger than me" Holt volleyed in from the edge of the box.

One should have been two until Andy D'Urso decided, not for the first time in the match, to pull play back when the advantage was there to be played. In case he's wondering, that's why he's refereeing a third division game and not in the Premiership, the clueless moron.

Back to the top of the table, a better feeling than New Years Day and the promotion push is back on.

If you don't already own a car .....

.. buy one, so you can cover it with these.

To decide which, vote here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Multiple choice

So was this down to:

a) Clingan, Cullip & Commons not playing
b) Reverting back to a 4-4-2 formation
c) The players being tucked up in bed by 10pm on the Friday night
d) A combination of all of the above

Friday, January 05, 2007

We've all done it

Borrowed items from your local pub. The odd beer towel, the occasional Guinness glass or even a decorated ash-tray.

But this guy, he's taking the p**s !

USSR Posters

Some stunning images on this site. Enjoy.

Hat tip to Never Trust a Hippy

Why it DOES matter

More stories in the papers, headline news on East Midlands Today and even a story on BBC 5 Live.

Yes, Ladies & Gentlemen, Forest players have been out on the piss again.

Let's face facts here, this is a group of physically fit young men, rich beyond their dreams and in a job a certain type of female find attractive. They never signed up to be role models so why should they act better than any other group of lads ? Who else in the world doesn't like a drink at Christmas ? Office parties all over the country are littered with stories of normally well-behaved people just over-stepping the mark at yuletide. Do they get in the Evening Post ? Does Janice from Accounts have a grainy CCTV image of her photocopying her backside shown on East Midlands today ? When the company we work for has a dip in profits or your department gets a bad internal review, does is stop you from going to the pub in the evening ?

No. So what is all the fuss about ?

Unfortunately for the vast majority of footballers, their wealth is far beyond the capacity of their feeble intellect, they are certainly less physically attractive than they themselves believe and their fitness is directly effected by the extra-curricula life-style they lead.

Stories abound that these incidents aren't unique, rumours of drinking 'til 4am on the morning of the 5:0 loss to promotion rivals Oldham, further rumours of early morning drinking before away games on the South Coast before Christmas, both games ending in poor results and worse, rumours of players caught on Police held CCTV snorting sherbet dib-dabs.

Anyone else who let partying & drug abuse impact on their work would expect their employers to be knocking on their doors pretty sharpish, P45's in hand.

These morons aren't role-models for my kids, I have nothing in common with them so ignore them in town and am not interested in the autograph / photograph / adoration culture surrounding them. Yet for plenty of people, these players are a class above, heroes, gods even. So for a certain group of fans up and down the country, it does matter and it matters a lot.

It matters when your heroes abuse local people.

It matters when performances suffer through this type of bad behaviour.

It matters that hard-working people pay over the odds to supplement these idiots who seemingly don't appreciate how lucky they are.

You'd think that with their wealth, fitness and contacts, they'd be clever enough to decide for themselves or at least get told, not to shit on their own doorsteps.


You would think that, wouldn't you ?

The good thing about standards is there are so many of them

I'm sure a lot of people are looking at eating healthier, especially at this time of year, so it's good to know that the government, food manufacturers and major retailers are working together to make sure that food is labelled properly.

Or are they ?

It seems that there is a split between certain factions over what constitutes correct & easy to read food labelling, some favouring a traffic light system, while others favouring a 'percentage of GDA' format.

While traffic lights are easy to read for everyone and supporters claim percentages on food packaging mislead customers therefore hiding unhealthy foods, the argument for 'percentages' was put forward by a spokesman for Tesco who quoted figures for full fat butter and low fat spread. While their respective percentages are different, on a traffic light system they would be both red.

Ignoring the fact that anyone who believes full fat butter to be better for you than low fat spread must have spent most of the last few years in a hole in the ground, there is one compelling argument against using percentages as the standard.

That is the standard favoured by Coca Cola. Remember, this is the company that bottled tap water and sold it on for huge profits, a practice not seen since Only Fools & Horses.

Ultimately, Coca Cola don't care if you eat healthily or not, so long as their bottom line continues to grow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's all going Pete Tong

Before Christmas, seven points clear at the top of the table, not playing well, but still beating reasonable teams, all's nice and rosy.

Then the wheels come off .....

Stories of arguments, fighting and stomach pumps at the players Christmas party, a goalkeeping mistake at Doncaster, poor tactics at home to Tranmere and rumoured 4am drinking before the dismal 5:0 thrashing away at Oldham. Teams aiming for promotion don't lose 5:0 anywhere, let alone to one of their close rivals.

And now with the New Year hang-over finally wearing off, we're third in the table and more worryingly, falling fast.

If we don't get out of this god-awful division this year, we're in serious trouble. We'll no longer be the big fish in the small pond, we'll be the dying whale swimming blindly up the Thames.

It's time to get back to basics, Mr Calderwood, pick your best 11 players, play them at 4-4-2 and stick to it. Tell the players who aren't part of that best 11 now and if they're not happy, they know where the transfer window is.

Before too long, we'll be one of the also-rans clambering over each other for play-off lottery tickets.

Something's gotta change.