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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Black Belt Grading

Just over four years of training, 2 hours, twice a week leads to this, 8 minutes in front of four 5th / 6th Dan Taekwondo Masters in a carpeted meeting room at the Doncaster Dome. All that stands before me is a decent 8 minutes and I’ll get my hands on a martial arts black belt.

8 minutes doesn’t sound a lot, and indeed it felt like far less, but with only 8 minutes to play with, there’s no room for errors.

Unfortunately I stuttered in my second pattern, leading to a general warning from the panel that if anyone messes up in the grading pattern (Koryo) they’ll need to start again or risk failing. Gulp. I tell myself it could have been one of the other four gradees, but my jelly legs disagree.

Patterns over and I can breathe again, but only for a second as we’re straight into ‘one step’. I’m the odd one out in a group of five, so I get the fourth dan black belt as my partner. He decides he isn’t going to be helpful to me by refusing to move when he’s supposed and then kicking great lumps out of me during non-contact sparring. I reckon non-contact means something different where he’s from.

As with all my gradings so far, there’s no way of knowing whether you’ve passed or not. You may think you’ve done ok, but a wrong stance here, a bit of contact there and it’s all over. Obviously I’m not too pleased with my performance and with no prior experience, a little apprehensive as to whether I’ll pass or not. All I can do is wait.

As the names are called out, I know where mine appears in the order (26). I count them down, losing the order until a fellow Sunbae trainee collects her’s. If I pass, they’ll call me out. If I don’t they’ll just move on by. I wait …..

And then my name’s called. I’ve passed and have to collect my certificate & belt from the judges.

Four years work, nearly ruined by a self imposed high standards below par 8 minutes, but hey, I’ve passed and that’s all the counts. I can wear the black belt, I’ve succeeded where most fail.

Hopefully this time next year I’ll be going for my second dan, and with this year’s experience behind me, I’ll perform a hell of lot better, believe me. Whoever’s arm will need moving next year will know it’s been moved.

Oldest watch ?

From the BBC:

Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.

The Science Museum is investigating the 450-year-old portrait, thought to be of Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, holding a golden timepiece.

Curators have sent their findings to renaissance experts at the Uffizi gallery in Florence, and are awaiting their comments.

The painting is being shown as part of the museum's Measuring Time gallery.

The first watches appeared shortly after 1500 in Germany and horologists believe the picture, painted by renaissance master Maso da San Friano around 1560, "may well be the oldest to show a true watch".

That's all well and good, but if you look not that closely, you'll clearly see his iPod headphones hanging down.

Forest 1:0 Fat Pitch Invading Band Wagon Jumping Cry on the Tele Babies

A different perspective on Saturday night, owing to having something special happening on Sunday (more later) I swapped my usual Upper Trent End hard plastic seat for a lower Basford Terrace soft upholstered settee. I’m sure the atmosphere wasn’t as good, but the view on SKY was fantastic !!

The first half performance was superb, as good as it gets really. Moussi in midfield was the Guy we all raved over at the start of last season, in your face, hard as nails and breaking down the Geordie midfield. Dexter Blackstock up front could have already had a couple before rolling the ball into an empty net just before half time.

Cue the change in tempo from Newcastle, now defending further up the pitch, cancelling our extra man in midfield. They still couldn’t create anything, and when they did, the linesman’s flag came to the rescue.

Overall a good performance, certainly the first 45 minutes attacking wise. Our defence has oft been criticised for being the weak link, but only conceding one goal in the last 400 odd minutes of football speaks volumes. When that area of our game is improved, well, then we WILL start to show people what we’re all about.

Barnsley on Tuesday night, another chance to have 500 teenagers shout ‘scab’ at a very limited number of ex-working-though-the-strike-miner Forest fans who clearly didn’t give a s**t 25 years ago, let alone now. We saw after the fantastic performance against WBA the hang-over that prevailed at home to Watford. Hopefully Billy will have sorted that little head-ache out by now.

Slightly disappointed with the Newcastle fans on Saturday. Sure they turned up in numbers, and vocally supported their team, but did they do enough ? Was there any more they could have done ? Losing, against Forest, clearly not much chance of getting back into it. Surely they could have invaded the pitch or something ???!!!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beer Festival 2009

Another fantastic beer festival, just keeps getting better and better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peter Taylor

Increased interest in the level of remembrance for the other half of the Clough / Taylor partnership at the moment following the InsideOut documentary on Monday night. Readers from outside the Midlands region can still catch up with the program on the BBC iPlayer.

In a nutshell, Peter’s widow and daughter are still upset with Nottingham Forest that while Brian Clough has his statue & stand named after him, it’s almost as if Peter has been airbrushed out of history, while at the other end of the A52 the powers that be at Derby are planning on a statue depicting both Clough and Taylor outside their ground.

I think it’s certainly partially true that the Derby statue is a show of one-upmanship over Nottingham’s single man affair, however, that would be a churlish sentiment. It could also be noted that it’s over 35 years since the Clough and Taylor partnership left the Baseball Ground, and that was as a result of a stand-off between two stubborn people in a dispute of Peter Taylor’s actual role at the club.

But, better late than never.

While the Derby success was completely Clough AND Taylor, it could be argued that, at Forest, while the main glory years were Clough and indeed Taylor, Clough individually is more synonymous with the club than the partnership.

The early eighties brought with them a time of economic & performance down-turn for Forest resulting in Taylor’s Forest funded “retirement”. The subsequent Taylor re-appearance 12 miles down the road and the lack of communication surrounding the John Robertson transfer facilitated possibly the worst & ultimately unnecessary partnership fall-outs ever witnessed. “We pass each other daily on the A52”, said Clough, “But if I ever saw him broken down at the side of the road, I’d run him over.”. The Forest board were also non-plussed.

Only Clough will know how close he ever came to a reconciliation, but Taylor’s sudden untimely death in 1990 took that choice of opportunity out of Clough’s hands, not an easy thing for a man now completely in control of his kingdom. The lack of a minutes silence in the next match after Taylor’s death was a surprise, it was certainly expected by the fans. But that decision would have only come from one man; Brian Clough. The fact that Forest scored during what would have been the silent minute possibly more of a testament to the man.

It could also be argued that it was this event that triggered the downward spiral with Clough. As Clough wrote; “The laughter had gone.

So, do Forest now come up with a lasting memorial to their former assistant manager ? And if so, what ?

Parts of the new stadium, if it happens, if England win their World Cup bid, if Nottingham becomes part of it etc etc, would certainly need naming, The Brian Clough Stand & a Peter Taylor stand side by side. We could even do that now, the Peter Taylor Bridgford End, for example, or the now ironical Main Stand. But would this be out of true remembrance, or as a retaliatory tit-for-tat answer to Derby’s forth-coming statue ?

One thing is for sure, those of us who were there during the good times, those who are entering these discussions on message boards, in pubs and at the game on Saturday, we do still remember. We still remember Clough, sure, but also Peter Taylor. And for a man who so shunned the publicity, polarising his chat-show favourite partner, maybe simply remembering him is the best way.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last Thursday

Last Thursday was National Poetry Day.

And I missed it.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Goose Fair 2009


Forest 2:0 Scunthorpe

Well, that was a lot better.

The crowd was a bit quiet, especially in the first half, but there was an air of tension in the ground. Not over the opposition, more a Forest knack of following a good result with a poor performance, a knowledge that the three points gained at Plymouth would stand for nothing with another home defeat a few days after. The players were going to have to lift the crowd for this one, not the other way round.

The first half came and went, a few Forest chances, especially from the numerous early corners we forced, but a packed Scunthorpe midfield kept control of the game. They like to pass the ball about and looked a decent side, but weren’t going to get anything out of the game with only Jonathan Forte up front on his own. A bloke on the tram on the way to the ground told me he was a County fan (I wonder whether he’d have volunteered that piece of information a year ago) and had been at Lincoln the night before. He assured me Forte was, and I quote, “f***ing crap”. Who needs Alan Hansen when you’ve got cutting edge analysis like that ? Saying that, Scunthorpe should stay up easily playing decent football like they do.

A strategic switch in the second half saw McGoldrick on for the no-lack-of-trying Joe Garner. A bit of subtlety was what was required and McGoldrick can deliver. Still the breakthrough didn’t come, but unlike Forest teams over the last few years, they stuck at it, didn’t revert to long ball gubbins and eventually the reward came. Another well delivered corner right on the head of an on-rushing Luke Chambers. Simple, effective and a clear sign that Forest are improving as a team. The second wasn’t long in coming, a low drilled cross from Anderson that Dexter Blackstock will claim as his, but actually could have come off anyone. But, who cares ?

Lady Luck still had a chance to shine as a Forte chance was touched onto the post by fellow spectator Lee Camp before he himself turned to retrieve the rebound. On several other days over the last two seasons, it would have rebounded in off his head.

So, a decent performance, better in the second half, sustained pressure against a none too shabby Scunthorpe side. Another win to follow the ‘job done’ Plymouth TV bore-a-thon, another three points and a good chance to extend the haul at Peterborough on Saturday.

But an award has to go to the bloke (I’m assuming it’s a bloke) who controls the electronic scoreboard. As the game was on a Wednesday, there was only one other Championship latest score to flash up at half-time, Newcastle surprisingly losing 0-1 to QPR, but hang on, what’s this ? Another latest score ?

Cardiff 6
Derby 1

Genius !!

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Now that Nottingham has lost one of it's lower end drinking holes, a quick reminder, courtesy of the LeftLion, of the type of chav filled, dole funded shit hole Liberty's clearly was.


It’s been a while since I’ve been to Central London, May last year, and I certainly don’t miss the place. The traffic, the ignorant people, the smell, the indeterminate grease that seems to penetrate every pore, the clog of black lumps up your nose as if you’re deep mining Satan’s personal coal bunker. London is certainly not paved with gold.

But a promise to an 8 year old is a promise that needs to be kept, so at stupid o’clock on Friday morning off we went to the depths of hell.

Like any good socialist we travelled First Class, making sure of the free tea & biscuits all delivered direct to our seats.

St Pancras has gone through a few changes since I used to go on a regular basis as a kid, the main one being that the end of the platform is now somewhere near Luton. When they built the Eurostar terminal, they should have had the foresight to build in an extension to the tube network, or at least some of those moving floors seen in the best airports (and Prague). But I’m guessing that that would take you away from the impulse purchases in the top end stores surrounding the walkway.

A helpful ticket guard for the tube asked my 8 year old whether he was a good boy, good enough to earn free tube travel for the day; “No” was the less than helpful reply. He got it anyway.

I always feel a bit strange walking down to St Pancras / Kings Cross tube station. On 18 November 1987 I’d gone to St Pancras to buy tickets for a trip back to Nottingham while out Christmas shopping. I missed the fire by a good four or five hours, but still too close for comfort. I can still see the tube tunnels how they used to be in my minds eye, my Titanic dream if you will. Even the new design which has largely destroyed the old layout can’t take away the view from the top of the stairs which hasn’t changed a bit.

Straight to Westminster and straight to item number one on the things my eight year old wanted to look at, Big Ben, which disappointingly wasn’t that big to him. Ah well, Downing Street will pick him up, the home of the Prime Minister, off the tele and all that. Well, no, that didn’t go down too well either. But then it wouldn’t. It’s like going to Alton Towers and being stopped at the entrance only being able to see the entrance to the House of Fun. At least it was warm.

Round the Houses of Parliament, across Lambeth Bridge and back down the side of the Thames, not a short walk for an 8 year old’s legs. Not a short walk for a 40 year old’s either !! Fortunately I’ve trained him well enough not to even consider asking for a trip to Buckingham Palace. I was tempted for a look round, after all I do F***ING OWN PART OF IT !!!

The London Eye was number 2 on his list and this time he wasn’t disappointed. A clearly annoyed temp took my bag off me to x-ray but made no effort to look at the resulting see-through image of my change of underwear. Security isn’t exactly number one on their list of priorities, although trying to keep all the Germans together in one pod was.

Disappointingly for me I wasn’t able to see Nottingham from the London Eye, what with the owners of the London Eye getting their knickers in a twist back in February that by calling the Nottingham Eye the “Nottingham Eye” would seemingly confuse Southerners into thinking that two ferris wheels situated some 130 miles apart were actually one and the same. Just shows you what a thick bunch southerners really are.

Off the itinerary a touch as we took in the Movieum, the London museum of movies. See what they did ? This was actually not bad, and worth an hour of your time if you’re next to the London Eye. Building enthusiasts will also like the setting, the old County Hall. Beautiful. Although I’m guessing that if they haven’t already set up an injunction on the Notts County Hall next to the river ‘Trent’, there’s one in the post.

I haven’t been to the Natural History Museum in over 30 years, but it looked like some of the exhibits hadn’t moved in all that time. Think Wollaton Hall with more dinosaurs and you’re on the right track. The animatronic T-Rex was believably scary, somehow managing to catch the eye of anyone looking at it as if it were just checking you out for snacking purposes.

A quick pint beckoned in the, no, sod ‘em. A quick pint WOULD have beckoned in the pub I would quite happily have spent a tenner in had they decided that having an 8 year old sat outside on one of their precious tables for half an hour wasn’t somehow going to get the whole of the free western world arrested for high treason. Needless to say I won’t be going back there on my next journey south. If you’re in the St Pancras / Kings Cross / Euston area I would recommend the Doric Arch, the Bree Louise (definitely), the Euston Flyer (at a push) but as a must, the Lamb on Lamb’s Conduit Street. And not the *********************. The main reason I’m so bitter about this is we ended up back at the hotel drinking, and forgive me lord, f***ing San Miguel out of bottles. Yeuch.

Dinner was found, eventually, at a nice Italian on Southampton Row. You can’t beat a nice family owned Italian restaurant, certainly better than Pizza Hut s***e or f***ing Frankie & Benny’s which is as about Italian as my a**e, but less tasty.

Up early on the Saturday, the usual drawing of the Forest tree in the steamed up bathroom mirror, before the all you can eat continental breakfast. I may be a clever bloke, but working one of those push button coffee machines was clearly too difficult and the resultant brown sludge tasted only slightly better than my first all white attempt.

Back to museum country and a trip to the science museum. Slightly more interesting than the Natural History museum, which still includes the poo you can’t flush. Must have got that idea from my house after a heavy night on the Guinness.

My boy wanted to go to Hamleys, so off we went. Even he thought the prices were offensive, so opted to spend his souvenir money on the bus / taxi / figure combo offered by the reputable barrows on Oxford Street.

And then back on the train home. Walked for miles, saw loads, spent loads, but it was all worth it.

He thanked me on the way home and told me he didn’t want to go to London again any time soon.

He wants to go to Paris next year instead !!!