Friday, August 22, 2003

Amateur Hour
wake up, stupidI got home from work at about 8pm and went straight out to 5-a-side football, no time to eat. I was fairly rubbish, fell over repeatedly, twisted my knee and so stayed in goal for much of the game. I was no better in goal.
I arrived home at 10pm, Mrs del Fuego told me that we had to collect our youngest daughter from her friends house over the road. Still no time to eat. We went over and found a party in progress. The hosts run a language school and the kitchen was full of foreign students and their teachers. We sat at the huge table and were plied with drinks - 2 glasses each, constantly being refilled with red wine, Pimms, champagne and finally some sort of peach liquor.
2 hours later our 8 year old was escorting us back home. Mrs del Fuego was weaving comically, I could tell this because I was doing the same.
I remember going to say goodnight to the dog in the kitchen. At some point later I woke up on the kitchen floor with the dog licking my face. I still hadn't eaten any dinner. I was still wearing my football kit. I had to get up for work in 6 hours.
We should probably get out more.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

England 3 Croatia 1
England got a good win against Croatia in a friendly match this evening. David James played very well in the England goal and kept us in the game during the first half.
There was a fantastic spell in the second half when I couldn't figure out how many Chelsea players were on the field. There were 4 - John Terry, Frank Lampard, Wayne Bridge and Joe Cole. I can't recall there being 4 Chelsea players in the England squad before let alone on the pitch. Lampard scored an excellent goal. Graeme Le Saux was on Match of the Day playing the pundit - he should have been on the pitch, left midfield.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Return to Patagonia
not lemonjellyJulian and Oliver Campbell are great. They found a hundred year old guidebook to Patagonia in their attic written by their Great-Grandfather.
Of course they decide to go and re-trace his steps. "With friend Harry Glass, from Oxford, they travelled about 600 miles from the foothills of the Andes to the Atlantic with no modern equipment.
Even their clothing - britches, riding boots and ponchos - was true to the Victorian era. Julian, 26, Oliver, 27, and Harry, 26, wore gentleman explorer's outfits of three-piece tweed suits, top hats and Panama hats when they were in towns or villages."
This is what I want to be doing! not at the mercy of connex trains, not working in OpenPlanOffice, no Eastenders, The Premiership, TalkSport, B&Q, Safeways, MSBlast or Sunday evening gloom.
However the oldest thing I'm likely to find in my attic is a 1973 Tiger annual. I'm not sure that's going to help.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Trouble at Work
Sorry not to update this earlier but my nosey boss, who I'll call Clive Jenson, 'cause that's his name, has been reading over my shoulder whining on about "Important Work" that apparently I promised him last week. Jesus! he has a one track mind! I swore next time he came and leaned over I'd staple his stupid cartoon character tie to the desk! - he was straight back, like several hours later, "Please Angelo, just the first page...", he leans over, I have the stapler ready - no fucking tie!, damn! leaning over he puts his sweaty hand on the desk! straight in, bash, bash - scream, blood - big stupid kid! he's off crying to Shirley, his Secretary. Yeah and the work's on your desk, dummy, got work placement kid to do it Friday.

Money Talks
Chelsea got off to a fantastic Premier League start against Liverpool, winning 2-1 at Anfield. I had optimistically predicted a 3-1 victory so I'm very happy. Michael Owen was given the chance to re-take his missed penalty after Chelsea goalie, Cudicini, moved forward off the goal line before the kick was taken. He scored from the re-taken kick to equalise for Liverpool. Referees have been told to crack down on this and make sure the keeper stays on the line. This is fair enough, but I hope that it is enforced at all times and not just the first week of the season. I should also say that Veron is looking excellent so far after I had said we didn't need the United reject - what do I know?

Friday, August 15, 2003

Football, Football, Heart Surgery, Brain Damage.
Chelsea's first competitive game of the season with their all new, expensively assembled team resulted in an excellent away win against Slovakian minnows (as John Motson would say) MSK Zilina in the European Championship. All the new players looked good, especially Damien Duff and Glen Johnson. [BBC] Exciting new striker, Adrian Mutu should be ready for Sunday's match against Liverpool. I reckon we should win 3-1 with Mutu scoring on his debut.

By way of contrast, our Thursday night 5-a-side soccer could only manage a turnout of 4 players tonight - an all time low. Instead of playing I went home and watched a programme (Intensive Scares (terrible name!)) about the risks of brain damage during heart surgery - 1 in 3 chance apparently. When the surgeons clamp your arteries during the procedure, all sorts of gunk on the walls of the arteries is disturbed and makes it's way to your brain and clogs it up (technical explanation). As if the risks involved weren't scary enough. The good news is that pioneering surgeons have a machine that will check for a good place to clamp, the bad news is that hardly anyone knows how to use the machines yet. Hey-ho!

Thursday, August 14, 2003

School's Out
TeachersI have been looking forward to the return of one of Channel 4's best shows, 'Teachers', for a 3rd series. However, although we've only had two episodes of the new series, it does seem to have lost something. 4 main characters for a start. (Simon, Susan, Jenny and J.P.)
I can't help feeling now that it's gone on a series too long. The writing seems to have run out of steam. Brian and Kurt falling over or being rude - check, loud guitar music - check, background sight gags - check, Penny's breasts - check, donkey - check. etc...
The law of diminishing returns has kicked in. The animals were funny because you weren't expecting to see a donkey or a bunch of penguins wandering around the school for no apparent reason and with no one commenting on them.
Now I'm waiting for them. It's sad to see your favourite programmes deteriorate but at least I can console myself with the release of the excellent first series on dvd with Andrew Lincoln, Raquel Cassidy and Nina Sosanya.
('Six Feet Under' is still great of course)

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Darling, they're playing our ringtone!
ctl+alt+delFantastic news for our friends, The Major Record Labels! As sales of singles fall through the floor all is not lost. It seems that soon sales of mobile phone ringtones will be outselling singles! [BBC]
This has all sorts of exciting implications. Musicians will only need to write songs 12 seconds long and they won't need lyrics (or singers (or bands)). Albums will still be 45 minutes long but will contain 225 tracks and one day soon a happy couple will be walking down the aisle accompanied not by Bryan Adams wailing "Everything I Do, I Do For You", but "The Nokia Tune".

Monday, August 11, 2003

Free, to a good home
PaoloThe great Paolo di Canio has joined Charlton Athletic on a free transfer. [BBC].
I wish Chelsea had signed him. He would have been an ideal replacement for Gianfranco Zola. I'm sure Di Canio will do well at Charlton this year, as long as he can stay fit. Charlton Manager, Alan Curbishley, seems a decent guy and a good man-manager. He should be able to handle the sensitive Italian and get the best out of him.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Who'll Win What?
Great, it's nearly the football season again - prediction time. OK here we go, totally un-biased of course.
Premier League Champions - Chelsea (hurrah! £60 million well spent)
Runners up - Manchester United
Relegated - Leeds (haha!), Wolves (ah!) and Portsmouth
Top Scorer - Bobby Zamora (well, probably not, but it would be nice for the ex-Brighton boy)
Player of the Year - Juan Sebastian Veron (obviously)
First Managerial Casualty - Peter Reid (please not Claudio)
FA Cup Winners - Southampton (that's just the way it works)
League Cup - Manchester City beat Liverpool 3-1
European Champions - Real Madrid (David Beckham's free kick settles a dour encounter)
UEFA Cup Winners - Chelski (yeah! the double!)

1st Division Champions -West Ham (hooray!)

I should probably point out that although I have been watching football for 30 years or so, I'm always wrong about these things.

What do you think? Any League, any Country - let me know, add a comment.

I'm quite looking forward to going back to work on Tuesday, after my weeks holiday, to get a good rest. I spent most of the week sanding floorboards. This is not a great thing to be doing in the hottest week in living memory. They're looking pretty good though and it's probably better exercise than going to the gym.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

How Low Can You Go?
It's quite interesting to see just how far downmarket The Mirror can plunge with it's new non-serious policy. They certainly have their fingers on the pulse with endless photos and articles concerning the current obsession with Kylie's Plastic Arse and better still their challenge to readers - "IS YOUR BOT HOTTER THAN KYLIE'S? If you think so, call Mirror Features on 020 7510 3000" - I reckon I stand a pretty good chance actually.

Danger! Kylie's Arse
I've been considering Kylie's arse this week, so has The Mirror "KYLIE sticks to a high-protein, low-carb diet to keep her bum pert and cellulite free.
FOODS made from refined flour or sugar such as bread, pasta, pizza, processed foods and sauces, are off limits.
SHE also avoids sweets, chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and biscuits.
SHE takes omega-3 fish oils for a healthy heart and chromium to help prevent sugar cravings as well as a daily multi-vitamin pill.
KYLIE avoids apples, grapes, bananas and pears, which contain traces of carbohydrates, as well as starchy vegetables including potatoes, carrots, parsnips and artichokes.
SHE eats plenty of green leafy veg - broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower, as well as tomatoes, mushrooms green beans and sprouts".

Funny that, she seems to eat the exact opposite to me. Her arse might look great but with a diet like that, I'm not too sure I'd want to be too close if it should go off.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Chelsea rule! (at some point in the future probably)
More excitment at Chelsea today as Joe Cole is signed from West Ham. Once again it's a reminder of how quickly things have changed at Stamford Bridge that this signing is greeted with huge indifference on the Chelsea fans messageboard on the BBC website. A couple of months ago Joe Cole would have been seen as a fantastic signing, now expectations have risen to such a high degree that he seems a bit second rate.
Joe Cole is an excellent player, West Ham's Captain and a full England International. He's only 21 years old, he could be at the top for another 15 years. Hurrah!!

We can also expect Veron and a striker, hopefully Christian Vieri, by the Champions League deadline on Thursday.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Organised Crime is Killing Music (not kazaa)
we're all to blame It's not just Record Companies that are killing music as I thought last week. It's also organised crime. "...the biggest culprit in falling music sales is large-scale CD piracy by organised crime. In just three years, sales of pirate CDs have more than doubled, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and every third CD sold is a pirate copy."[BBC]
Young people now spend more cash than ever on phones, clothes, dvd's and computer games. There is more competition for the cash in their pockets. Another factor is that less CD's are being produced, partly because people have now finished replacing their vinyl collections.
So what's this got to do with file-sharing? The Record Companies are barking up the wrong tree.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Sunday Evening Blues
The weekend has flown by again and normally at this time on a Sunday evening a slight gloom would be descending on the del Fuego household. I'd be thinking about how I hadn't done what I'd wanted to this weekend and another full week of work looms.
Fantasically enough, I'm sitting here listening to 'Hackensack' by Fountains of Wayne, wondering why the album still hasn't been released here yet, drinking more Vodka and Pineapple juice and preparing to watch a random dvd. I HAVE NEXT WEEK OFF! Yeah! I even have the following Monday off as I had thought we were having a party next Sunday and wanted a day to recover. The weather forecast for the week here in Hastings is hot and sunny and all is well with our world. I hope it is with you too.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Vodka and Pineapple
Fantastic really isn't it? works for me - who votes 4 Vodka and Pineapple juice?

Farce of Shame Academy (again)
BBC's Fame Academy is getting a pasting. According to The Mirror 'Seven of this year's 25 hopefuls have songwriting agreements with record companies - or have previously been in bands that had contracts with labels'. This seems to defeat the point of the programme - to take talented kids off the streets, coach them and let the public decide who they want to win a fat Recording Contract. It's not supposed to be a cheap way for Record Companies to break their acts with the public using weeks of free, top quality marketing.
The excellent popbitch newsletter writes, "Britain's cynical music industry is using the show as a focus group for their new acts, with the whole thing paid for by gullible voters (and of course everyone who pays a BBC license fee)".

Whatever next? "Celebrity Driving School" featuring Top Gear presenters? "What not to Wear" with Posh and Becks? oh, hang on, we may be on to something here.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Name and Shame Blame Game Sensation
John Leslie left Court after sex assault charges against him were dropped "without a single stain on his character" yesterday. In reality his career and reputation are shattered.
This case has re-opened the debate about whether or not sex charge defendants should be granted a measure of anonymity to prevent "trial by media".
Tricky one this - obviously it seems unfair that many falsely accused people have had to attempt to re-build their lives after apparently doing nothing wrong. Usually their accusers have remained anonymous at least until the trial. There is an argument that the police are often greatly helped in putting together a case by people coming forward with legitimate claims that they too have suffered at the hands of the accused.
For example, many cases of child abuse in childrens homes have been helped by the media publicising the case. Without the publicity many victims of abuse may not realise that their attackers are being investigated and may never come forward unless they realise that others are going to back up their claims.
There will always be con-artists out to make a buck, hoping to sell their stories, as in the Hamilton case. I would have thought that either all parties should remain anonymous or none should.
However if all are anonymous, it's not going to sell many papers, is it?