Monthly Archives: February 2011

My own anti-photography: Southend’s strip

It’s my belief Ed Ruscha himself would have had a job of work on his hands taking snaps with a lurcher on the lead, a sea fret and only a
Blackberry for the execution thereof…

Arsenal show some mental fortitude (at last)

VanPersie and Wenger

About this time of year Arsenal regularly crash out of the Champions League, and the first leg match at home against Barcelona looked
like it was going to script at half-time last night.

And then, when the home side were available for the win @ odds of 16/1, well into the final half, things dramatically turned around. This photo was taken after Van Persie’s acutely angled equaliser and it speaks for itself.

After the match the players thanked the fans for their contribution
to the victory: for once The Library had run amok.

The only fly in the ointment was the stupid question in the post-match interview with Robin Van Persie. Fortunately, the Number 10 shirt can not only score goals, he can also smell rank hyperbole when it’s
shoved under his nose.

Gritty Stuff

I was so tired, I passed out more or less instantly in bed last night. I was not surprised when I woke up, or was woken, a few times before morning because this is a regular occurence.

A night of unbroken sleep hardly ever happens any more. There are the children, there is the dog. 9 times out of 10, it is the latter. He has a funny little insistence that involves tapping me on the leg with his paw until I arrange my legs to his liking: he does not like straight legs, he likes them bent so he can snuggle into an enclosed space. Last night I was too tired to comply, so he settled for curling up and lying directly on my legs which is, of course, highly comfortable for both of us – not.

I completely understand why people keep their pets out of the bedroom, but I find the benefits of an effective foot warmer and a loyal friend outweigh any negatives. Waking me up is a price I will pay; having a crippled hip, or foot, in the morning is another price I do pay. However, there is one aspect of sharing the end of the bed with a pet that is a potential deal-breaker these days. That is the grit. In these days of heavy going on our walks, Rudi brings in quantities of soil trapped between his toes (phalanges) which he then liberally flicks in, around and on my bed when I am out, or in, he’s not fussy.

As I said, I was knackered at bedtime yesterday and I dropped off no bother. Whilst being tapped on the calf in the small hours of this morning I realised I was lying on a smorgasbord of pea gravel, mud and general grit. I was also lying on an mp3 player; what Rudi listens to, I don’t know.

If you have children: watch this

And if you don’t, watch it anyway. If you are Michael Gove, you should take a look too. This came by way of my Chase & Status friend and colleague, Fay, for which many thanks. I am seeing her shortly and we will be discussing our revolution (as usual).

It caused me to shout Yes! quite loudly a couple of times: ADHD, Sausage Factories, Limiting Potential with Labels, Divergent Thinking, Teaching our Kids not to Think – it’s got it all.

Of course, I can’t force it on you, but I am going to take a liberty and be prescriptive: dunromin, enkunalma, finkywink – you must watch.

If you’ve no interest in education I can also recommend it on the basis of some rather excellent scribbling…

It’s not a Banksy, but…

It’s a largely unrewarding business taking photos with my Blackberry. My sister seems to get better results on hers. And then there’s the other sister’s iphone which does the business even better, but then she has to contend with the big drawback of a greasy screen. All that notwithstanding, I was rather pleased with how this came out.

This dog is painted on the side of the now defunct Staffords Hair Emporium on the London Road in Leigh-on-Sea. I have a nice friend who broke the salon: she had her hair cut and then it closed the next day. I will never quite let her forget it.

I tried curling my own hair at the weekend for party purposes. It quickly became clear that I had no idea what to do. I did find out it won’t go if your hair is dry. That’s my top makemeadiva beauty tip #1. Don’t hold your breath for the next one, they appear on a biennial basis only.

An Anti-Valentine: ‘It’s a struggle just to get you in the caravan…’

A top lyric from a tune I loved a few years ago.

Whilst trying to figure out a way to embed the code and bring the video direct, I was also trying to work out if that was our own correspondent DJ Ironik I could see in the arches there (think not). That disappointment is made up for by the boys who clearly taught Wayne Rooney everything he knows.

Either way, that line kills it and put things in a normal context, something often missing in all the hip-hop bling and hype these days.

Keeping things real today: down with romance!


For those of you not on Facebook, the ad opens with a little star known well to this blog for his robotic moves and rapping skills, our own Cassia shows up in due course…

A Bad Day for Racing

As my good friend said yesterday in the comments section on this blog: it was his worst day in racing yesterday, and he is ‘shell-shocked’.

It is rare enough that anyone who doesn’t follow our sport would see it mentioned on the main news, for it to make the headlines with such graphic images as it has (which I have avoided seeing, of two shrouded dead horses in the paddock at Newbury) is horrible. Not nearly as terrible as it will be for those connections there yesterday and of course the horses, who we can only hope did not suffer.

The latest news is that the Electricity Board (presumably separate from the various middle-men entities that beg us to switch to them on a weekly basis) removed a piece of cable from under the paddock for investigation. Without wishing to pre-judge the situation it would seem that the horses, being more *susceptible to electricity than humans, and wearing steel racing plates were on the end of some leaked electricity that no-one expected to be there.

Some will say it’s all a freak accident and maybe it is, but it paints a shambolic image of the sport. Combined with the events at Newbury, where we lost Marching Song and Fenix Two, there were the deaths and destruction of Kilmurry, Glencove Marina and Money Trix respectively; the last two in the same race that I posted about yesterday, The Hennessy at Leopardstown.

I don’t post any of this to be morbid, but when things go wrong it hardly helps to pretend they haven’t. I’d rather just tip my hat to all those who had a terrible day on account of their love of horses yesterday and hope they all have a brighter day in the near future.

I have been to Newbury twice, the racecourse that is, and I have always been intrigued by the ladies WCs under the posh grandstand. They are, to a tee, stuck somewhere in the 50s. I used to quite like them, particularly the doors; now I wonder if it was just another part of the racecourse that was a little bit old, run down and out of sight, out of mind…

There’s not really a cheery sort of image for today so I’m going to finish up on a slightly off-key note. It says on my passport I was born in Newbury and here’s a picture of me shortly after that event and many years prior to making my racecourse debut, which was in Cartmel when my own daughter was only a little bit older than I am here. My parents look fantastic to my mind, especially my mother, given that I had given her a difficult time before making my appearance. She may pop on to comment that I nearly killed her.

*I am no scientist, but it would seem that the horses’ metal shoes on wet grass would have conducted any live charge. Humans reported feeling “a tingle” but they would not have been in metal shoes. The two horses that died were wearing steel shoes, the two that went down were wearing aluminium. Aluminium conducts electricity better than steel, but some of the aluminium racing plates the horses wear might have been coated in a polyurethane/anodized which reduces the conductivity, but that’s my own speculation. I don’t really know. It seems obvious though that with four legs acting as separate conductors on live ground wearing metal shoes those horses were sadly in trouble. Some sort of work has reportedly taken place since the last meeting at the course, so it’s suggested an old cable to the Berkshire Stand that was capped off 20 odd years ago and has perhaps disturbed by the work and caused the leak.

A Grand Sort

That’s this fella, Joncol, who goes this afternoon in the rejigged Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

I think he’ll win and I’ve got a speculative interest in him for the Cheltenham version in March. He’s absolutely huge and with all that size come the accompanying injury niggles, but on softer ground he has all the scope in the world.

Football: a big day in the life of

And I don’t mean the impending announcement of whether West Ham will indeed get the Olympic stadium over Tottenham.

No, it’s bigger than that: today is the day the eldest goes off to play in her first inter-school football tournament on the astroturf pitches at a local High School. She has some new Arsenal shin pads, which the youngest tested thoroughly in the front room last night by giving her sister’s shins some good hard kicks. She has some football socks which she insisted she didn’t need because she was going to borrow her friend’s spare pair. It was pointed out that, going forward, if she was going to play for Arsenal Ladies she might need her own…

There then followed a fulmination about the selfish nature of her boy team mates; apparently, they would rather lose possession of the ball to the opposing team than pass to a girl. There was also a more mild-mannered digression around why she was picked to play in the team at all: long legs, speed to burn…

I am on maternal sporting tenterhooks waiting for the post-match report.

Pass us the ball lads