January 09, 2007

Possibly the best news of the year so far…

Read this, folks…..


About time too. Unless we take top notch acts to Eurovision, we’ll never have any hope reaching the top half, let alone winning the damn thing. I hope Mozza’s chosen, although two musical institutions colliding will do something detrimental to planetary balance!
Bring on Helsinki in May!

January 03, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

1 I am NEVER going to drink again
2 I will show more commitment to my blogs
3 Ditto my degree
4 I will try to get more sleep
5 I will worry less of things over which I have no control
9 I will improve my mathematical skills

December 04, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal…But Not If You're British

I’m still in lieu of anything interesting to say in these blogs, so another generic moan it is….
I’m fed up with being British. Not that there’s anything deeply wrong with our country. There’s a roof over my head, food on the table… compared to Eriterians and Somalians, I’m pretty damn lucky. We have a vibrant culture of music, film and arts, and although all our teams have seen better days, we haven’t a bad sporting scene. We have a national health service (however lousy by Western standards), free education, and rights to freedom of expression and political belief. There is running water, and high levels of social security. We speak the lingua franca (that’s an irony I won’t go into), and so can pretty well manage neglecting every tongue but our mother’s, so to speak. All in all, a pretty good deal.
No, my problem with Britain is the British. Although chippy pessimism is to sometimes be applauded (and is certainly to be preferred to trans-Atlantic naiveity), too much does grate. Take the Olympics, for example. A fantastic achievement, and I’m counting the days until 2012. For once, the eyes of the world will be on Britain for positive reasons. However, writers such as Will Self still find time to criticise every aspect of the Games – this pessism might be part of our ‘national character’, if so, it’s about time our psyche changed.
From now on, Britons should be eternal optimists, realising their country’s limitations, but rejoicing in its undeniable comparable strengths, and the virtues of humanity and the global community as a whole. If this path is not taken, I really will feel depressed….and I know who to blame.

November 13, 2006


Right guys, it’s three months since I’ve last written something, so I’m under a bit of pressure to write something substantial….oh, who cares, I’ll just whitter on about what’s getting my rather weary goat this week…
This week, I am mostly annoyed by:
1. People in Costcutter who use their debit/credit card to pay for a fucking sandwich! There’s cash mashines right outside, people, so don’t tell me you’re not doing just to annoy me.
2. Steve Wright…. You’re not funny, even in an ironic way…. we want Stuart Maconie!
3. James Lawton. The Robert Fisk of sports writing. For Lawton, sport is not shades of grey, it’s black and white, Arsenal or rubbish. The guy’s up Wenger’s rear end so much I’m surprised the moaning Frenchman can sit down
4. Tony Blair (obviously), but not quite as much as….
5. Gordon Brown, the smug bastard – I so hope there’s a challenge for the Labour leadership, and not from another Scotsman. The Scottish Raj is alive and well, and taking over our lives!
6. The ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detriot’, I don’t give a damn about Detriot, and there’s not way I’m putting my hands up for it! When will they write a trendy club song about Leeds, the one city I do love?
and finally….
7. People in general…. there’s not a single person I’ve spoken to in the last two weeks that hasn’t annoyed me in some small way. I’m not asking for perfection, I’m just asking people to be better than imperfect!
Right, if I think of anything else, I’ll come back.
This is fantastic therapy, I tell thee….

August 17, 2006

By the way (re Venables)

I appear to have been wrong about Venables.

Politics is everywhere…so why is everyone so apathetic?

My maths teacher in Year 7, making an ulitimately futile point to me, said that studying the obtuse angles of triangles and conducting simultaneous equations was not a complete waste of time because: 'Maths is everywhere'.
Going to a Catholic High School, the same point was made about God in R.E., whilst reading Shakespeare and Priestley formed valuable life lessons in English that I have since unfortunately neglected. The sciences and geography have similar levels of physical relevance, and history, as the study of the past, obviously provides importance lessons for our future.
Why then when I say that I'm studying Politics, the almost universal response is a sharp intake of breath, and more often than not an utterance of an 'oh dear'? It seems, not just in an academic sense, the public at large see fit to ignore Politics as irrelevant to their lives. All this does is widen the space between the politically motivated and the rest of society.
The mistake most people seem to make is to shove Politics into a party political and institiutional box. Although I'm a card–carrying member of the Liberal Democrats, I can fully understand the public's increasing apathy in this regard. Nothing annoys me more than career politicians, individuals who see personal gain as a necessary companion to any policy, reform or political action. The patriachal, hierachical system that still largely prevails especially in Britain is genuinely sickening (sorry to sound like a feminist), and the victims, are of course, those in society who are neglected in favour of populist policy.
This may prove to be the ultimate legacy of New Labour and Tony Blair, but all parties are partially responsible. Turnout is low because trust in politicans as human beings rather than self–interested androids is low. The role of sensationalist media hasn't helped, but this is preferable to the dewy–eyed reverence the great unwashed had for pre–war politicians.
However, these problems can be addressed. Primarily the solution is to recognise that all human relationships have a political essence. Whether it be one–on–one relationships, or small–scale systems of power (as I've come to find out in the voluntary bookshop I'm currently working in), there is always a degree of political friction.
Of course this is a simplified, naive approach, but national and international complications can, in my opinion, be related to more familiar day–to–day concepts. If the political climate can change, then more citiziens will take notice, but this requires 'politicians' of all ages to assess the real purpose of their professional lives.
If politicans can use the same system of rationale we use to iron out these small scale difficulties in the wider world, it might take longer to iron out problems, but at least the public might be able to relate the manner of politicians' behaviour to their own, normal, characteristics.

August 14, 2006

A Quick Question #1

At what age is it OK to start listening to Radio 2?

August 12, 2006

Beckham's international exit was, I'm afraid, inevitable

My first thoughts on recent happenings will not concern the foiling of a potential mass terrorist atrocity, or the Israel–Lebanon conflict, but something much more pertinent…the end of David Beckham's international football career.
Although my interest in football compared to cricket and rugby league has declined since Leeds were relegated and Chelski began to buy/win the Premiership, I still feel McClaren's decision to finally drop Beckham is enough of a sporting landmark to merit an entry here.
I should point out that it is entirely the correct decision. DB's performances in the World Cup were nothing short of embarassing, and he seems to be resting on the laurels given to him after the Greece game five years ago.
When you think that Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright–Phillips, even Steven Gerrard can do a better job on the right, the old argument of DB being 'the best dead–ball specialist in the modern game' starts to become irksome. The guy can't tackle, can't dribble and is 31. McClaren has to form a long–term plan leading not up to 2008, but at least to South Africa in 2010, and it is only right that DB is out of the squad completely.
However, before I completely declare my undying support for McClaren, he cannot get away scot–free. He was assistant to Eriksson for almost all of his tenure, and so therefore must have either agreed with the Swede's blind support for Goldenballs or else have been too weak to raise any objections. Either way, the FA's decision to choose him to manage the national team seems a bit poor, especially when they could have landed Scholari, Hiddink or O'Neill if they had a bit more PR tact.
The appointment of Venables also seems bizarre. I'm sorry but I don't really rate him as a coach. OK, he won the FA Cup with Tottenham, but what else? He got to the semi–finals of Euro 96 ON HOME SOIL, but save for one great performance against Holland, England were decidedly average, with poor performances against Spain and Switzerland and typically gutsy, but tactically naive displays against Scotland and Germany.
Since then, he has failed to take Australia to the World Cup, almost relegated Middlesbrough, under–perfomed with Crystal Palace, and I'm not going into what he did with Leeds! The cheeky Cockney personna doesn't wash with me I'm afraid, and I fear he will be too much of personality within the England set up. Steve McClaren will have his work cut out in the months to come persuading the press and the players that HE is in charge.
I suppose the first acid test is on Wednesday, when we play the 'European Champions'.... stop sniggering at the back!
Oh well, it could be worse, I could be an athletics fan….

August 10, 2006

Here we go again

Right, I've decided to start my blogs again. I know I've failed at least twice to keep up with them, but I'm detemined that this attempt will be third time lucky. I'm determined for two main reasons:
1. I will be 20 later this month. I know birthdays are generally a cause for wild celebration and merriment, but not this one. The thought of no longer being a teenager fills me with dread, because everytime I listen to 'Teenage Kicks' and 'Teenage Dirtbag' from the 23rd they will suddenly become retrospective accounts of my lost youth, rather than the here and now.
Being IN MY TWENTIES is a thought too scary to properly comprehend. Most estimates suggest that a male born in 1986 should expect to live to just short of 80. That means a quarter of my life has gone, and as I don't believe in a celestial postcript, although I hope there is one, I am mildly petrified.
As I might as well retire with my pipe and slippers, I thought keeping a diary to preserve my existence after my death seems to be a logical step. Making such a diary public in the form of a blog puts my mind at rest even further.
2. Although I pointed out in my orginal blogs that I wouldn't be political, I've become so angry with the world, and just about all its inhabitants, that my rants will have to encompase current affairs. Sorry to go back on my word, but hey I'm a Politics student!
OK, the next blog probably won't be for a while, as I'm off on holiday in a few days, but if the mood takes me, I'll put something on the slate.
Right, time for lunch, I'll be back…
Ed ;)

January 24, 2006

The 10 Greatest Songs Of All Time (In My Opinion)

Sorry, I haven't kept to my new year's promise. Anyway, each blog will now take a form of a list.
Today's blog
The 10 Greatest Songs Of All Time

This is the shortlist…...

Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah
The Beatles – Come Together
Queen – Breakthru
Del Amitri – Nothing Ever Happens
Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
Kinks – Apeman
Oasis – She's Electric
Procul Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jam – A Town Called Malice
David Gray – Babylon

I've limited it to 1 a band, otherwise it would just been the Kinks, Beatles and Queen!
Anyway, reply and vote for your favourite, I think there's a good mix there, and we'll see who wins.
This is only a personal selection, so vote FROM the list.
Thanks, Ed.

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